The area under cotton cultivation has recorded a significant decrease during the last 10 years generally in the country and especially in Punjab province owing to increase in number of sugar mills and Maize cultivation.
Cotton cultivation in the core cotton areas of Punjab province including Vehari decreased by 55 percent, Rahim Yar Khan 44 percent, Muzaffargarh by 36 percent, D.G Khan 32 percent Khanewal 31 percent, Lodhran 29 percent, Multan 27 percent and Rajanpur decreased by 9 percent during the last 10 years, said Dr Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner, of Ministry of Textile Industry while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on domestic cotton crop scenario.
He said that the main reason behind decrease in cotton sowing in the country was the shifting of cotton to sugarcane due to increase in number of sugar mills in the country.
“Shifting of sugar mills in the core cotton areas in Punjab despite court order would badly affect cotton production in the country in future”, he said, adding that cotton growers opted to shift to other crops like sugarcane as the government fix support price of sugarcane and left the cotton growers at the mercy of sole buyer and international parity price.
He said that overall cotton crop sowing witnessed 15 percent decrease this year as compared to sowing last year. In the current year, cotton area was reduced by 20 percent in Punjab and witnessed about two percent increase in Sindh. However, he said that cotton crop is progressing well both in SIndh and Punjab. According to a survey conducted by Pakistan Central Cotton Committee cotton crop is in better condition in Sanghar, Matiari, Tando Mohammad Khan, Mir Pur Khas and Badin district of SIndh. “Plant population is better, boll number and boll size is also satisfactory”, he said, adding that minor pest attack of white fly and pink boll worm has been reported in some patches in Sindh.
He said that in Punjab province cotton crop is progressing well, however, white fly attack has been reported in Punjab, especially in Bakhar, Khanewall, Sahiwal, Rahim Yar Khan and Multan districts. Abdullah said that seed cotton price during last week remained between Rs 3,000 to Rs 3100 per 40kg in Sindh and Rs 3050 to Rs 3200 per 40kg in Punjab. Lint prices are also at par with international prices and remained between Rs 6500 to Rs 6700 per 40kg in Sindh and between Rs 6600 to Rs 6800 per 40kg in Punjab, he said.
Cotton commissioner said the government set cotton production for 2016-17 at 14.101 million bales from area of 3.009 million hectares. ” Out of 14.101 million, Punjab will produce 9.5 million bales, Sindh 4.5 million bales, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa 0.003 million bales and Balochistan will produce 0.098 million bales”, he said. The committee which met with Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah in the chair asked cotton commissioner to suggest steps for improvement of cotton sowing area in the country.
Regarding latest position of the 1400 acres PARC land in relation to the case pending before the Supreme Court of Pakistan the committee, expressed anger after CDA failed to give an explanation for not implementing the decision of the Standing committee. Muzafar Hussain Shah said, “In view of role of 196 sub role 3 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the senate 2012, if a motion is carried containing the decision of the house it should be communicated to the ministry concerned for implementation, in case the ministry is unable to implement the decision of the house, it should inform the house within two months. If the ministry failed to do so the decision of the house will be binding”, he said, adding in this case the decision of the house was communicated to CDA on November 16, 2015 and CDA raised no objection or give any reason for not implementing the decision of the house therefore as per provision of the approved decision of the house the decision of the house will be binding on CDA. “The CDA has failed to submit its explanation then why not a privilege motion should be passed against the authority”, he questioned.
Following the request by Islamabad Mayor and CDA Chairman Sheikh Ansar Aziz to give them more time, the committee decided to give more time to the authority and not pass privilege motion against the authority.
The committee asked CDA chairman to inform the committee within 15 days that what is the current status of the summary moved by CDA to Prime Minister to convert NARC land into housing scheme and also explain as to why the decision of the house was not implemented by the authority in spite of lapse of 10 months. Shah also grilled NARC chairman that neither you nor your council has properly pursued this case. Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati said that it is a professional misconduct as the CDA council changed his statements before the Supreme Court regarding the case.
Senator Brigadier John Kenneth Williams (Retd) said that this is gross negligence and misrepresentation of the fact. The meeting was also attended by Senators Muhamamd Mohsin Khan Leghari, Gul Bashar, Muhammad Zafraulllah Khan Dhandla, Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Muktiar Ahmed Dhmrah, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research and senior officials.