Senate panel seeks ban on import of Indian cotton

If import from India is not curtailed, it may jeopardise agriculture in Pakistan, says Senator Muzaffar Hussain

Maryam Usman May 19, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The import of cotton lint from India via Wagah border is detrimental to the domestic cotton production and, therefore, should be stopped immediately. This was crux of a discussion in a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Wednesday.

Senator Muzaffar Hussain, who chaired the meeting, expressed apprehension that if the import of 0.5 million bales of cotton from India was not curtailed, it could potentially jeopardise the agriculture in Pakistan.

Pakistan spends $4b a year on cotton imports

Members of the committee pointed out that last year’s cotton production had declined by as much as 30 per cent and said if adequate measures were not taken this year, the country could witness a serious decline in cotton production.

The committee observed that there was sufficient stock with the Trading Corporation of Pakistan and there was no justification for import.

Minister for National Food Security Sikander Hayat Bosan fully endorsed the view that the import via Wagah should be immediately stopped. The committee asked the Ministry of Commerce to submit its report on a priority basis.

The Ministry of National Food Security revealed that a total of 33 per cent of cotton seeds were handed to farmers while 32 per cent were sown during the current cotton season.  It also shared that last year only 3 per cent of seeds were sown by farmers.

Pakistan left with higher import of cotton

The committee was also informed that Punjab agriculture minister had asked the federal government to address intervention in price for cotton. The committee endorsed the idea, calling for prompt steps to be taken in this regard as the new crop is likely to come up by the end of next month.

Bosan said the National Assembly will soon pass a Plant Breeders Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Moreover, the committee asked the government to include tractors in the compulsory list of vehicles, which conferred the authority of Ministry of Science and Technology, to determine the standards of vehicles for agriculture.

Furthermore, they pressed that for the sake of authentic information, it was essential to have a laboratory affiliated with the Pakistan National Accreditation Council to upgrade the functionality of the vehicles to global standards.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2016.


Haramullah | 5 years ago | Reply OMG! India is going to lose biggest market in the world.
joy | 5 years ago | Reply Please import cotton from China since that won't impact pakistan in any way.emphasized text
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