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Minister stresses need for policy guidelines to increase cotton crop

ISLAMABAD: Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFSR) on Wednesday stressed on the need to develop comprehensive policy guidelines for attaining sustainable growth and value addition of cotton crop. 
The minister also said that it was imperative to devise a common agenda with the involvement of all stakeholders concerned for the actions to be taken in future for promotion of cotton sector in the country. 
The minister was addressing a gathering of agricultural scientists, farmers and growers on the occasion of Pakistan Cotton Consultative Conference organized by Ministry of Textile Industry here in Islamabad. Abbas Khan Afridi Minister for Textile Industry, Rukhsana Shah Secretary Ministry of Textile Industry, Dr Shakeel Ahmad Food Commissioner MNFSR, Dr Khalid Abdullah Cotton Commissioner and other high officials from both ministries were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister for MNFSR said that cotton was the lifeline of Pakistan’s agricultural economy and deserved enhanced focus to create conducive environment for attaining greater interest and investment in this sector. However, during the last few years, productivity of cotton crop had remained stagnant and farming community generally showed concern over low prices of phutti, noted the minister. Besides creating farmers’ friendly market environment, there was an immediate need to take steps for bringing down cost of cotton production and ensure a fair return to cotton growers, emphasized the minister.
The minister further stated that higher cotton productivity can only be achieved through addressing problems of resource poor small farmers and by streamlining the availability of better quality seed. The minister also said that he has directed Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department (FSC&RD) to hold a consultative meeting with public and private sector stakeholders on June 13th, 2014 at Multan for preparation of a Cotton Seed Development Plan (2015) in order to streamline the maximum availability of good cotton seed. The minister further said that efforts were also afoot to integrate the private sector into seed business for realizing the potential of seed industry.
The Federal Minister also apprised that his ministry, after the approval of Federal Cabinet, has submitted the Seed Amendment Bill 2014 in the National Assembly for its enactment. Similarly, Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill has been moved by Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) as an ordinance and it was presently with the federal cabinet for approval. The minister expressed hope that these legislations will be passed soon and after coming into force would enable the seed industry to perform a viable and vibrant role. The minister further stated that provision of adequate training and exposure to cotton growers in modern technologies would also ensure better return to farmers. The Federal Minister for MNFSR also lauded Ministry of Textile Industry for holding Pakistan Cotton Consultative Conference and expressed hope that this would aid in further strengthening the cotton sector.
Abbas Khan Afridi Federal Minister for Textile Industry, while addressing the gathering, elucidated various measures and steps taken by his ministry for improving the yield and quality of cotton crop. The minister termed the cotton crop white gold and expressed confidence that with the fresh induction of eminent agricultural scientists on merit a roadmap would be chalked out for realizing the full potential of cotton crop and putting it on higher growth trajectory.
Earlier, Dr Khalid Abdullah Cotton Commissioner gave a presentation on current cotton scenario in the country.

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