Third Meeting of Federal Committee on Cotton (FCC)
February 27, 2014: Third meeting of Federal Committee on Cotton (FCC) was held under the chairmanship of Ms Rukhsana Shah, Secretary, Ministry of Textile Industry, Government of Pakistan on February 27, 2014. Representatives of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), Punjab Seed Corporation, Sindh Seed Corporation, Pakistan Metrological Department, Federal Plant Protection Department, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Planning Commission, Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), National Fertilizer Development Corporation (NFDC), Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department (FSCR&D), Agriculture Department from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakthunkhawa and Balochistan and cotton farmers attended the meeting.
Dr. Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner stated that a target of 14.1 million bales was set for the year 2013-14 and the cotton crop size for the season had been assessed at 12.32 million bales of 170 kgs. The representative from Meteorological Department stated that lesser rainfall is anticipated in the cotton belt than the normal level from March to June which will result in increased maximum temperature to around 1 to 2 degree. Farmers can plan cotton sowing according to availability of irrigation water and anticipated rainfall and temperature. Representative from Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) stated that the bank has disbursed Rs. 14 billion (26% of total agriculture loan disbursement) for cotton growers which is highest among the crops. During 2014-15 cotton crop season, ZTBL intends to grant loans of Rs.15 billion for cotton growers. He further stated that around 91% of ZTBL loan was disbursed to small farmers during 2013-14. Province-wise breakup of loan disbursement/consumption for cotton farmers during 2013-14 includes Punjab Rs.12.2 billion, Sindh Rs.1.8 billion, KP Rs.106 million, Balochistan Rs.13 million. He stated that 12 percent interest rate is being charged at the moment and government/ECC has directed to maintain interest rate according to prevailing market rate. Secretary Ministry of Textile Industry stressed upon bank authorities to rationalize the interest rate and expansion of One-Window-Operation in coordination with Agriculture Department for facilitating especially the small farmers.
Representative of NDFC stated that availability of Urea and DAP fertilizers is satisfactory and the government also intends to import 125,000 tons of urea for the coming kharif season in order to avoid shortage. Moreover, the ECC has also fixed urea price of Rs.1786 per bag for both locally and imported urea which is still not being implemented by the fertilizer industry. Secretary, urged to ensure the fertilizer availability on the appropriate price to the farmers. She further stated that there should be transparency in the mechanism of determining prices of fertilizers.
The representative of FSCRD stated that 5000 tons seed of cotton (Non-Bt = 1500, Bt 3500 tons) have so far been tested. He further stated that at least 15,000 metric tons of seed would be available during the season. Secretary urged the representative to direct all seed dealers to market cotton seed as per standard germination of 75 percent and there should be no comprise on standards. Seed companies must be regulated and companies not performing up to the mark must be banned. Proper legislation required in Seed Act must also be made in consultation with the relevant departments to provide quality seed in order to get higher production. Secretary, MinTex directed Cotton Commissioner to acquire list of seed companies registered and de-registered for their proper follow-up at their-end.
Dr. Muhammad Ali Talpur, Director, Marketing & Economic Research, PCCC highlighted the figures of recent imports of cotton yarn and raw cotton from India. It is expected that this huge stock piles of cotton and cotton yarn may affect the cotton prices for the crop season 2014. So, intervention price may be considered for announcement.
Secretary, MinTex also urged the representative from Federal Department of Plant Protection to ensure timely availability of cotton-specific pesticides during the season. Dr Khalid Abdullah stated that during month of March, a three-day cotton training programme is going to be started for the field staff of Khyber Pakthukhwa and Balochistan provinces which must be attended by the relevant people. Secretary also showed concern over non-participation of members from IRSA and State Bank of Pakistan in this important meeting. She stated that follow up will be made with these departments. The house unanimously agreed to fix the cotton area and production target as below:
|| Area (million hectares)
|| Production (million bales)
The Secretary explained that the reason for increasing the cotton production target for 2014 despite the persistent problems of decreasing acreage, non-availability of quality seed, and rising prices of inputs was that the country had the potential of producing 20 million bales of cotton per annum. This higher target would push all concerned departments to work harder to increase cotton production through structured intervention programmes and better extension services, while MinTex would do all in its power to resolve the policy issues relating to seed certification, NBC procedures, training programmes, awareness campaign for cotton cultivation.
Secretary MinTex stated that ministry has already planned comprehensive programme for farmers training programme and mass awareness campaign for enhancing cotton productivity in the country. She also stated that Punjab must work on enhancing yield per hectare.