President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the country will have to pay heavy price for neglecting one of the most important sectors of cotton.
This sector is providing jobs to millions and it is responsible for over fifty percent forex earnings but its output is falling while the area under cultivation has been reduced by 14 percent over the past five years, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the government should not remain indifferent to this sector otherwise it will drag down the whole economy of the country.
He said that a reduction of seven million bales was recorded in the last crop which will continue to increase unless proper intervention is ensured while the textile sector will have to import cotton worth six billion dollars.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that cotton crop has faced rains, floods and climate change in which little can be done but the issue of fake and substandard pesticides, fertilizer, seed, absence of soft loans etc. can be tackled.
The planters have to use double amount of seed with the lowest germination ratio while many have to go through the sowing process twice.
The cost of doing business for farmers is increasing rapidly while prices are static since last three years which is pushing them to look toward sugarcane, rice and other crops.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Government is providing Rs19 billion support to wheat farmers, Rs11 billion to rice farmers and Rs4 billion to sugarcane farmers but cotton growers are being neglected.
Government should ensure availability of quality seed, develop new varieties, improve regulations, keep an eye on seed companies while providing subsidy to growers otherwise the shortfall will increase by the next crop, he warned.