Pakistan’s government is considering incorporating ambitious targets into its five-year cotton policy spanning 2013 to 2017, the draft of which has not yet been finalized.
The policy would aim to boost Pakistan’s cotton production to 22 million bales, consumption to 19 million bales, and exports to 3 million bales by the 2017 end-date according to a Pakistani government official. Currently, Pakistan’s annual cotton production stands at about 13 million bales, consumption at 14 million bales, and exports at 1 million bales.
To increase production, the new cotton policy will aim to increase the area under cotton cultivation from the current 3.2 million hectares to 4.2 million hectares over the five-year period.
Pakistan is the world’s fourth-biggest cotton producer – behind China, the United States, and India – but stands second in the world in terms of cotton contamination in cotton, the government official told reported.
The new policy will specifically aim to address the issue of cotton contamination by offering a premium to farmers who produce clean cotton. The government may set up a cotton investment fund for that purpose.
The policy will also take another look at the insurance scheme to cover the crops of those farmers who avail loans from commercial institutions, the official said. There is also a proposal to set up a cotton ginning research and training institute.
The government will seek the opinion and suggestions of various stakeholders and provincial governments before finalizing the draft policy, which would then be placed before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for its approval, according to the official.