Cotton production estimated at 12.6m bales

ISLAMABAD: The Cot­ton Crop Assessment Com­mittee (CCAC) on Thursday estimated cotton production at 12.6 million bales during 2017-18 against the target of 14.04 million bales. Chairing the first meeting of the committee for this season Ministry of Textile Industry Secretary Hassan Iqbal said that based on all available information from field formations of the provinces and better crop outlook, it was expected that production target of 14.4m bales may be achieved. He said the current estimate of 12.6m bales was expected to further improve in the next meeting as per acre plant population and per plant balls has witnessed significant increase as compared to the last year. He said the government would establish textile universities in cotton growing areas and set up ginning units in order to promote cotton crop cultivation and production in the country. He directed the relevant authorities to activate the field extension departments of the provinces to address issues faced by the farmers. Meanwhile, Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah informed the meeting that in Punjab cotton crop production was estimated at 8.9m bales, where as for Sindh there is a forecast of 3.7m bales. Cotton production for Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is estimated at 0.01m bales, respectively, he added. He said the plant population has witnessed about 5.7 per cent increase where as average balls per plant grew 40pc, a positive sign for the crop. Besides, fertiliser intake and pesticides spray has also increased and no major pest attacks have been reported from the field units so far, he added. Dr Abdullah also apprised the meeting about the different steps being taken by the Ministry of Textile Industry to promote cotton crop in the country. Addressing the meeting, President Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association said the crop outlook was encouraging due to timely sowing of cotton.Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017

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