LAHORE: Member organisations of the Task Force on Cotton reviewed on Thursday the causes of unprecedented decline in the commodity’s production in 2015-16, and proposed measures to boost output in the coming season.
The Farmers Associate Pakistan, Kissan Ittehad, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) and Karachi Cotton Association participated in the meeting held at the Aptma Punjab office.
The participants observed that the sowing season of new cotton crop was just around the corner, and the country could not afford another damage of the only cash crop and a subsequent failure of related stakeholders in the supply chain.
They further pointed out that the retail business in the country was already witnessing a visible negative impact of dwindling farmers’ income.
Speaking on the occasion, newly elected chairman of the task force, Seth Muhammad Akbar, said the government should immediately take necessary measures to strengthen cotton production this year.
He said all the taxes on water, electricity, seed, pesticides and fertilisers should be removed to enable cotton growers to compete regionally in terms of the input cost.
Similarly, the services of agriculture extension and the availability of agricultural technology should be made available to growers, right from the land preparation to the crop harvesting at the farm level, he said.
The spinning industry, already facing high cost of doing business, was unable to procure cotton at the import parity, he said, adding that the task force would strive for a free market mechanism while ensuring a level-playing field for all the stakeholders of the cotton economy.
Earlier, the cotton task force unanimously elected Mr Akbar of Aptma Punjab as its first chairman and Khawaja Tahir Mahmood of the KCA as vice-chairman.