One third of the Cotton Crop has been destroyed due to weather conditions in Pakistan, especially lower Sindh. A cotton emergency must be declared and efforts must be made to determine a heat resistant variety of cotton so that growers may not face the same plight again, this was asserted by Chairman Committee National Food Security and Research, Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah in a meeting on Wednesday at Parliament House.
The meeting was attended by Senator Najma Hameed, Senator Seemee Ezdi, Senator Gul Bashra, Senator Professor Sajid Mir, Senator Hafiz Abdul Karim and senior officers from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL). Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan was also present.
Chairman Committee, Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah also stressed the need for determining an indicative price for the cotton crop so that emergencies such as these may be addressed. He directed PCCC to give a detailed briefing in this regard to the Committee in the next meeting. He emphasized the need for proper funding and also gave instructions that the Committee may be briefed about funds received by PCCC and the research has been conducted since 2015.
The Committee deliberated on causes of the failure of the cotton crop in 2019 and concluded that one of the major reasons had been the lack of research especially on evolving new seed variations that are heat resistant. The Committee also strongly recommended to the Federal Government for an immediate grant for the purposes of research to PARC and PCCC. As if not the cotton crop will continue to decline. While taking up the issue of filling up of vacancies at PARC, the Committee was informed that there are 397 vacancies out of while 144 are being processed.
The Committee enquired about the newspapers in which these advertisements were placed for recruitment and the list of applications received.
Discussing the availability of water in the Indus River for Rabbi Season, the Committee was informed that is 65000 cusecs inflow as of today.
The Committee raised objection to the increase of price of wheat and was informed that this came as a result of non-procurement of wheat from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Committee was assured that the government would do its best to ensure no further increase.
Discussing the Kitchen Garden Scheme that was introduced by PARC, Chairman Committee, Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah said that it has been successful and in order to procure broader benefits PARC must ensure community inclusion. He stressed the need to contact NGOs, Civil Society Organizations and Women’s Organizations to spread awareness.