A ministerial meeting on cotton cultivation decided on Wednesday to encourage the companies providing seed technology to introduce their cotton seeds in Pakistan and stressed the need for adopting measures to protect the farmers from fake seeds.
The meeting, chaired by National Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, was attended by Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Industry and Production Minister Syed Murtaza Mehmood, besides the relevant high-level officials and stakeholders.
The meeting reviewed the proposals for increasing cotton production and the cultivation area. A committee was formed in the meeting to talk to the seed companies and facilitate them to introduce quality cotton seed with the latest technology in the Pakistani market.
“The latest seed technology will help increase productivity,” Cheema told the meeting. “Technology transfer will also benefit this sector and the farmers will be encouraged to grow more cotton,” he added. He also asked the textile industry to pay arrears of cotton cess.
Mahmood, the industry minister, directed the committee members to review criteria for the registration of seed companies.
“The companies providing substandard seeds should be fined and further steps should be taken to protect the farmers from fake seeds,” he said.
“The federal government will work with the provincial governments to formulate its procedure,” Mehmood added.
The minister also stressed the need for improvement in the research and development (R&D) institutions of the country.
The participants also discussed the approval of Rs10 billion for the Cotton Research and Development Endowment Fund by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on last month.
The funds would be released in three years over the next three years.
The committee decided that the funds would be used to improve seed quality, modernise and develop production technologies that addressed climate change issues. The meeting was also apprised of the Food Ministry’s awareness campaign for farmers.