On 10th August 2020, Center for Global & Strategic Studies organized a webinar on “Problems Faced by the Cotton Industry in Pakistan” to discuss the various issues faced by the cotton industry in Pakistan including the production challenges, quality deterioration of cotton and the limited variety of seeds in the Cotton Industry of Pakistan.
The webinar was commenced by Maj Gen Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery (Retd), President, CGSS. Maj Gen Jaffery stated that to improve and increase the cotton production in Pakistan, the linkages between the Agriculture sector and the industries need to be enhanced. Furthermore, he mentioned for enhancing the overall situation of the cotton industry of Pakistan, Upgrading, and Modernization of technology is required.
Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research-informed the participants regarding the shift of farmers from cotton to other crops due to the minimum support price provided to the cotton crop. Moreover, Mr. Fakhar Imam mentioned that due to the high contamination rate of the cotton produced in Pakistan, the export of the Cotton gets affected. He also stated that the most important factor which affects the cotton quality in Pakistan is the Seed Quality. Lastly, Mr. Fakhar Imam mentioned that to address the overall imbalances of the Cotton Industry, effective policy initiatives are to be taken.
Dr. Jassu Mal, Former Chairman, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association emphasized the need for raising awareness among the major stakeholders of the Cotton Industry of Pakistan. In addition to the general awareness regarding cotton production, the technical training of the farmers and workers is also required. He further added that the Cotton in Pakistan is still hand-picked which increases the contamination rate and hence leads to the low-quality gradation. Dr. Jassur Mal also mentioned that despite having the Best Canal System in the World, it is underutilized.
Mian Anjum Nisar, President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry mentioned that Cotton production not only supports the overall agriculture sector but it also, directly and indirectly, supports the various industries of Pakistan. Additionally, he mentioned that cotton contributes (directly and indirectly) to 50 percent of the total exports of Pakistan. Lastly, Mr. Anjum Nisar mentioned that to compete at the global level, the input cost of the cotton has to be reduced.
Prof. Dr. Asif Ali, Vice-Chancellor, MNS-Univesity of Agriculture, Multan mentioned that for the overall improvement of the cotton sector, an effective regulatory mechanism needs to be introduced. Furthermore, Dr. Asif highlighted the need for the Industrial Upgradation for the overall enhancement of the cotton sector. Lastly, Dr. Asif stated that for the revival of the cotton industry, all the major stakeholders need to come together to address the common challenges faced.
Mian. Zahid Hussain, Convenor, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry advised the stakeholders involved to focus on providing solutions to the problems faced by the cotton industry. He also empathized on the need for the formulation of new effective policies. Additionally, Mr. Zahid Hussain mentioned that Pakistan needs to follow the best cotton production practices from around the world to improve its cotton sector.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Islamia University of Bahawalpur mentioned that the main aim of the cotton industry is to increase production. To increase cotton production, new technologies are to be incorporated. Moreover, he mentioned that Research and Development can play a major role in increasing cotton production.
Lieutenant. Colonel Saadullah Tashmatov, Charge de Affairs/ Defense Attache, Embassy of Uzbekistan discussed the Cotton Industry of Uzbekistan. He mentioned that Uzbekistan is ready to cooperate with Pakistani farmers to find new directions for cooperation in the Cotton Industry of Pakistan. He further stated that, Uzbekistan looks forward to establish cooperation between the food security department as well as it holds great importance for Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
The Webinar was attended by 50 participants. The Webinar was moderated by Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Taimur Akram (Retd), Executive Director, CGSS.