The National Assembly Standing Committee on Textile Industry on Tuesday reviewed the performance of agriculture research bodies and prepared a set of recommendations to boost research activities and enhance cotton production.
The meeting, held at the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) Multan, was led by committee chairman MNA Khawaja Ghulam Rasool Koreja.
The committee members received an elaborate briefing from agriculture scientists (agronomists) on the working of research bodies, procedures for developing new varieties, improving soil health by using modern techniques and the funding issues.
Responding to a query by MNA Jamshed Dasti regarding the ban imposed on cotton sowing till April 15, Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah explained that early sowing triggers higher infestation of pink bollworm and other pests. Most farmers usually embark on cotton sowing after April 15, he added.
To another query by MNA Rasheed Godial about 24 per cent reduction in cotton-sowing area, the agronomists said the support price of cotton should be announced regularly and Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) must be asked to procure cotton to encourage farmers towards cotton sowing.
The NA committee members also sought details about the research budget. They said they would recommend that budget for research purposes should be increased further.
The NA Committee was informed the lease agreement of the land CCRI Multan was utilising has not been extended as yet.
The NA committee asked the Ministry of Textile Industry to coordinate with the provincial government for extending the lease agreement.
The NA committee chairman appreciated the performance of research bodies and sought more efforts from the scientists to extend the benefits of research directly to farmers.
The committee observed it would recommend recruitment of experts and scientists, and steps for promoting value addition in textile sector. The committee observed that it would also ask the ministry to operationlise TCP to facilitate the cotton farmers.
The NA committee members also visited different sections of CCRI Multan including the technology transfer, plant protection, plant breeding, and the rest.
The meeting was attended by MNAs Sardar Muhammad Shafqat Hayat, Ms Ghulam Bibi Bharwana and Abdul Ghaffar Dogar. Senior agronomists and textile ministry officials were also present at the meeting.
APP. NA committee reviews agriculture research bodies’ performance. Dawn, March 29, 2017.