The news: The Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam met a delegation of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) on Saturday to discuss challenges faced by the cotton ginning industry. He also announced that Pakistan is going to use China’s seed technology in order to increase its cotton yield.
Advanced technology: Speaking to a delegation led by the PCGA chairman, the minister emphasized that development in agricultural technology is essential to growing the per-acre yield of cotton in Pakistan. He explained that his ministry is working to decrease production costs to ensure profitability in the cotton business as well as bringing foreign advancement such as China’s seed technology into the country which can increase the yield.
Cotton production: Sohail Javed, chairman of the PCGA, said that there are a total number of 1,300 ginning factories across the cotton belt in Pakistan, which have the capacity to produce 14 million cotton bales. However, for the past few years, production has been short and only 800 factories were functional last year. Cotton ginning is a seasonal business which is why most factories also have oil extraction units that allow them to produce oil and cottonseed cakes from cotton seeds, a by-product of the ginning process.
Challenges: He also informed the minister about several hurdles that local cotton producers and ginners are currently facing. He said that cotton production has been on a decline which is affecting the ginning industry as well. Moreover, piled-up tax refunds, lack of cotton purchases by All Pakistan Textile Manufacturers Association, and a liquidity crisis are adding to the obstacles for the cotton ginners during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Solutions: The food security minister said that he will call the taxation issue into question with the Finance Division and guarantee some relief to the local ginners. He also asked the PCGA to propose advancements in technology that can be helpful to the production sector and upgrading the process of ginning in order to manufacture better quality lint.
Lack of research: While addressing the National Assembly, the minister criticized the Seed Act and Plant Breeders Act which were passed a couple of years ago. He said that the implementation of these laws was faulty and that Pakistan needs to increase the amount of agricultural research in order to increase the cotton yield. He said that Pakistan had failed to focus on agriculture, an essential foundation of the country’s economy. He highlighted that due to these issues, Pakistan is forced to import wheat crops to fulfill the needs of the nation even though we have the ability to grow approximately 35-40 million tons of wheat.