Absence of crop zoning hampering cotton production, Senate told

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ISLAMABAD: Senate’s Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Wednesday was informed that owing to the absence of appropriate crop zoning in the country, the area under cotton sowing was drastically reducing by 26 per cent, posing serious threats to the production of the major exportable cash crop.

Briefing the committee, which met with Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah in the chair, Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah said that cotton arrival in the local market reduced by 700,000 bales this fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

He said up to December 15, about 9.96 million bales arrived in the local market as compared to the arrival of 10.6 million bales in the same period of last year.

He informed the committee that crop zoning was vital for sustainable agriculture growth and national food security, stressing the need to regulate the industries in order to avoid the crop shifting issues. he said that crop zoning would also help in the efficient use of natural resources, including soil fertility, water and environment.

The committee asked the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee to submit details of the preparations for the cotton sowing, arrangements made for Kharif 2019, and the availability of certified seeds, fertilizers and other inputs during the season to achieve the set targets of production.

Meanwhile, Food Security Commissioner Dr Imtiaz Ahmad Gopang apprised the meeting that wheat crop has been cultivated in over 8.011 million hectares of land across the crop producing areas of the country, as against the set targets of 8.833 million hectares.

He further informed the committee that crop sowing had been completed in over 90.7 per cent areas by mid of December, adding that Punjab had achieved the sowing targets by 95pc, Sindh by 73pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 94pc and Balochistan 71pc respectively.

“Wheat had been cultivated in over 6.155 million hectares. Sindh cultivated wheat in 0.845 million hectares, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.725 million hectares and Balochistan 0.286 million hectares,” he said.

Dr Imtiaz said healthy wheat crop output was expected in the current season, adding that expected rains by the month of January 2019 would bring multi pull impact on the wheat plant and help in its healthy growth to boost productivity.

He informed the committee that about 8 million tons of carryforward stocks were available in the country, whereas the government had allowed the exports of 500,000 tons.

He said that wheat seed requirements for Punjab were estimated at 820,000 tons and out of the total required quantum, about 73pc certified seeds were available, whereas the total seed requirements during the current season were recorded at 1,085,000 metric tons and 30pc certified seed would be available for cultivation.

The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council chairman told the committee that the council had developed about 154 varieties of different crops, whereas during 2017-18, 27 varieties were developed and distributed for cultivations.

The committee expressed its concerns over the non-implementation of its direction by Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supply Corporation to establish godowns in Umerkot and directed its head to submit the details of correspondence on land accusation with the Sindh government.

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