Punjab Minister for Agriculture Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial has said that the provincial government has planned to attract farmers towards cotton growing and a target of 5 million acres has been set for cotton cultivation. Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister said that quality seed for one lakh acres will also be provided by the government to encourage cotton cultivation because farmers prefer to grow wheat, rice and oil seed due to high profit margins as compared to cotton. Punjab Seed Corporation’s Managing Director Waheed Akhter Ansari also spoke on the occasion.
He said the Punjab government attaches priority to the development of agriculture sector to give a boost to the national economy. All possible measures including agriculture marketing, good price of crops for the farmers and facilitation are being taken in this regard, he added.
The minister further said that Punjab Agriculture Marketing Regulatory Authority is in the formation process that would ensure good price of crops for the farmers. During the current year, per acre cotton production will be increased from 18 maund to 25 maund. Farmers are also being encouraged to grow edible seeds that would help save huge foreign exchange, he added. He said the Punjab Seed Corporation is organizing motivational seminars for the farmers.
LCCI President Almas Hyder said the agriculture and economy are vital for each other. Development of the agriculture sector will bring economic issues under control besides getting rid of the IMF. Though Pakistan is an agrarian country but cotton production is not enough to meet the local demands and the country is spending billions of dollars on import of this commodity, he said. Almas Hyder said that Pakistan has produced around 10 million bales of cotton on average for the last several years against consumption of over 14 million bales. The modern techniques and hybrid seed can help Pakistan produce 30 to 40 million bales of cotton, he said. He also highlighted the issues of sugar industry, flour mills and tractor manufacturers and said that the government must support tractor manufacturers as this sector is vital for agriculture.