JUTE BAG PROHIBITED IN PUNJAB
The farmers have been asked to use cotton bags for storing or transporting the cotton crop
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Sep 23 - 29, 2002
Punjab, the largest producer of cotton crop in Pakistan, has decided to take strong preventive measures to produce contamination-free cotton with an objective harvest a rich crop both in terms of quality and value.
In order to ensure production of quality cotton free from any sort of contamination, the provincial government of Punjab has officially banned the use of jute bags for storage or transportation purposes of the crop. The farmers have been asked to use cotton bags for storing or transporting the cotton crop.
Any violation in this respect would not bring penalty to the defaulter but may also lead to sentence. So far the growers used to store the cotton yield in jute or polypropylene bags which are said to be the major source for contaminating the cotton crop.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan which is one of the major producer of cotton crop having its economy based on cotton and textile could not build a reputation as a producer of quality cotton due to gross neglect right from picking, ginning and spinning stages.
Consequently, the textile sector was restrained to go into value addition besides low price in the world market. Pakistan gets around 8 cent less than the standard price offered to the quality producers of cotton in the world market.
The spinning sector had to import contaminated free cotton to produce higher count yarn in Pakistan. This year too, the spinners had to import at least 1.2 million bales for producing yarn of high counts.
Under an agreement the growers and the ginners were also offered some incentives in the form of high price for producing contamination free cotton. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association is also contributing its share to encourage the growers. Last year when the scheme for production of contamination free cotton was launched, certain cotton producing areas was earmarked under scheme in Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. The scheme proved a great success and the growers of the earmarked areas got a better price of their crop. In order to make the entire province free from contamination the provincial government of Punjab has taken strong measures including penalty and sentences to the persons who would be found guilty of violation of the rules.
The instance set by the government of Punjab is a good example for other cotton producing areas especially in the province of Sindh, which is far from the desirable results so far. Although the amount produced in Sindh is much less than the size of the crop produced in Punjab, yet whatever they are producing can be described a sheer case of negligence and ignorance. The provincial government should also lead from the attractive results achieved by Punjab and should follow suit to produce quality cotton which is the main pillar of our economy.
It is encouraging to see that as a result of increasing access to the European market the textile sector in Pakistan has almost doubled its efforts for value addition and has started producing fine quality yarns to meet the market demand in the European Market. Due to non-availability of the quality cotton, the textile industry had to import over 1.2 million bales obviously sending the precious foreign exchange which could have been saved if quality cotton is made available within the country.
Provincial minister for agriculture, Khurshid Zaman Qureshi, has declared that the use of jute bags for storing or transporting cotton has been banned.
The minister made this announcement while addressing a press conference after the weekly meeting of the cotton crop management committee at the central cotton research institute.
He said the decision to this effect has been taken to minimize contamination in Phutti (seed-cotton) which causes a loss of about eight-cent per pound to the country on the international market.
Khurshid Zaman said so far the irrigation water availability has been satisfactory, pest problem is under control and the overall position of the crop was very good.
Despite less cotton cultivation this year, the output is likely to be equivalent to that of the last year.
Provincial Secretary Agriculture Junaid Iqbal while elaborating said the jute bags has been banned and cotton cloth may be used instead of jute bags. He said if it happens to be costly tractor-trolleys and trucks are used for transportation of Phutti.
Junaid Iqbal said this ban has been imposed to produce contamination — free cotton and get better price of the commodity on the world market. Use of Jute thread has also been disallowed because it also contaminates the silver fibre. The provincial secretary said so far the cotton leaf curl virus is negligible but in order to further check its growth, except for six varieties, all other kinds of cotton seed have been banned all across the country.
As for the pest attack in the next three to four weeks, the onslaught may be severe and the growers are advised to be vigilant against American bollworms, spotted bollworms and white fly.
Any negligence on the part of the farmers would be suicidal. Appropriate chemical compounds must be sprayed every week to safeguard the crop.
Breach of ban or use of jute bag for cotton and cultivation of banned varieties will be dealt with an iron hand.