Cotton, Pakistan Agriculture News

Rs250m allocated for cotton research

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Agriculture Research Council on Thursday announced allocation of Rs250 millions for the cotton research under Competitive Grant Systems to the provinces on competitive basis.

According to officials PARC will up-grade four labs in Islamabad, Karachi, KP, Punjab and will establish two new labs in Tandojam and Quetta. These labs will monitor pesticide residue level.

The PARC will also create and establish provincial boards in provinces and manage province-inclusive Competitive Grants System.

Under the project six labs in all provinces of Pakistan will be set while already established labs in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Kala Shah Kaku will be upgraded.

The objectives of the project is to establish and strengthen a well coordinated network of pesticide residue analysis and testing laboratories and development of Centre of Excellence in Pesticide Residues and also to accredit the Reference Lab.

The aim is to help promote food quality and safety both from public health and trade perspective. To develop core human resource in this specialized area.  The framers however rejected the decision and said that present centres have zero contribution to agriculture development of the country and alleged that all the money goes into pockets of the high ups. Nobody from any provincial or federal agriculture department ever contacted us, said Mehr Khalid Mehmood, General Secretary Kissan Board, Muzaffargarh.

He said the farmers decide on their own, about the seed variety, and the crop. He said no official ever contacted them to train or educate them about the modern farming practices. He denied any education on pest residue control.

“The agriculture sector cannot be improved by allocating huge funds – or making statements- it may make some people rich but nor farmers,” said Hafiz Mohd Hussain, president Kissan Board Southern Punjab.

He asked what is the contribution or performance of already established centres that government will now upgrade them.

He said policy makers should concentrate on basic issues.

“The canals of cotton growing areas including Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan are dry, government should do something to provide irrigation water, this will help in improving yield,” Hussain said.

He said the exploitation of farmers is the main reason for the downfall of agriculture sector.