ISLAMABAD, (Muzaffargarh.City – 23rd Sep, 2020 ) :Cotton, a major cash crop of country is facing immense challenges as its output has been on decline from last many years and the production is feared to be further reduced during current season as last spell of torrential rains and flash floods in Punjab and Sindh have damaged the crop standing over thousands of hectares. The rains and floods in Sindh have completely damaged 26.7% cotton crop on 167,641 hectares and 19% or 124,587 hectares of area was partially damaged. About 80% crop was damaged in districts of Umerkot and Mirpurkhas, whereas it was also affected in other districts as well, said Cotton Commissioner in the Ministry of National food Security and Research Dr Khalid Abdullah. Talking to APP here on Wednesday, he said that the rains have also put negative impact on cotton crop in Punjab as crop standing over 8,034 acres was badly affected. The cotton crop in districts Multan, DG Khan, Rajan Pur and Muzaffargarh of Punjab Province were affected, he said adding that crops other than cotton like sugarcane rice and pulses were also damaged due to rains and floods. The Commissioner said that cotton crop sowing in the country during current season (2020-21) decreased by 1.3 percent as compared the sowing of the corresponding period of last year. The crop had cultivated over 2.457 million hectares as against the set targets of 2.663 million hectares, which was less than 1.3 percent of targets fixed for this season, he added. He said that about 92 percent targets of cotton cultivation was achieved during current season, adding that crop was grown over 2.
489 million hectares during same period of last year. In Punjab, he said that the cotton area was decreased by 2.5 percent as crop had sown over 1.890 million hectares as compared the target of 2.03 million hectares. However, he said that the cotton sowing in Sindh registered about 2.7 percent increase as it cultivated over 0.615 million hectares as against last year’s 0.599 million hectares. The Commissioner said that declining trend in cotton growing area was mainly attributed to increase in covered area under competing crops including sugarcane, maize and rice. In order to cope with the prevailing situation and encouraging the farmers to grow more cotton, he said government had evolved a scheme of incentives that would reduce the input cost of cotton, besides reducing the cost of doing business. He said that government had announced subsidies on fertilizers and pesticides in its agricultural emergency program and farmers would be provided fertilizers and pesticides on controlled rates. Besides, to ensure availability of cheaper agriculture credit, the government had also announced to pay 10 percent markup on agriculture loans for growers, adding that interest rate on agriculture lending was charged at the rate of 16 percent.In order to control the pest attack on cotton like white fly and pink ballworm, he said government had also provided subsidy on the imports of PB Rope.He said that government was also working to ensure 100 percent availability of high yielding, pest resistant seeds to enhance per-acre crop output.