The government has established cotton endowment fund with an initial worth of Rs 2.5 billion in order to create indigenous resources for conducting research and development activities in the field of cotton crop across the crop growing areas in the country.
The aim of the establishment of the fund was to generate internal resource to conduct research for producing high-yielding seed verities and innovative technologies to produce over 15 billion cotton bales annually, said Chairman pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Dr Yousuf Zafar.
Talking to APP here on Wednesday, he said prior to this cotton seed was the primary source of income, which was spent to meet the research and developmental expenditures of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC).
He said the PCCC was mandated to conduct research and produce high yielding, disease resistant seed verities of cotton seeds and recommend the measures to enhance per acre crop production.
He said the amount being received from the millers on account of cotton cess was mainly used to fulfill the administrative expenses of PCCC, adding that many textile mills had obtained stay orders from the courts, which had also reduced the income through cess.
The endowment fund would help to generate about Rs. 600-700 million annually and it could be spent to meet the research and development expenditures despite asking the government for funds every month, he remarked.
The PARC further informed that pre-Central Development Working Party (CDWP) had been granted to the project and it would be presented in the next meeting of CDWP for approval for the establishment of the fund.
Meanwhile, he said the fund would help to bring more areas under cotton crop production, adding that this year area under cotton was expected to increase due to reduction in sugarcane prices and stabilization of commodity prices in local markets.
He said cotton sowing in China and US had witnessed sharp decrease, adding that Pakistan was importing 4-5 million bales to fulfill its domestic requirements and the initiative would help to bridge the gap between local demand and supply.
This year, he said government was also working on pro-active approach to enhance the per-acre crop output and stop the down ward shifting of crop production, adding that provision of certified seed and availability of pesticides were ensured by the government to exploit the existing crop production potential.
Dr Yousuf Zafar said government had also imported the trap-ropes from Japan to safe the crop from any possible pest attack and get maximum crop output during the season, adding that this traps were distributed among the growers free of cost.