ISLAMABAD  - The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has directed all provincial governments to carry out a damage assessment of cotton crop which was affected due to torrential rains and flash floods across the crop sowing areas in the country.

The provinces were also asked to collect data about the partially damaged crop and the crop which was completely destroyed in order to form appropriate policies for the compensation of cotton growers, said Dr Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Talking to APP here, he said that cotton crop standing over thousands of hectares in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was damaged due to recent heavy rains and flash floods, adding that efforts were being made to control the damage and revive the crop in affected areas. He said that the relevant governments were also asked to activate their respective field extension departments to provide technical assistance to cotton growers to minimize the damage by taking immediate steps including sanitation and drainage of stagnant water from the fields. In this regard, he said that the farmers would be provided basic tools and machinery for draining out the water to save their crops from further damage, adding that the concerned authorities were also directed to ensure the availability of heavy water pumps and other equipments to fulfill the demand of growers.

Dr Abdullah said that soon after receiving the data about the damaged crop from the provincial governments, an appropriate policy would be formed to compensate the cotton growers, besides addressing other challenges and issues related to crop to develop and revive cotton production in the country. Meanwhile, he said that first meeting of cotton crop assessment committee was scheduled to be held by the end of current month (August), which would take stock of the state of cotton crop in the country and suggest measures to achieve sustainable growth in this sector. It is worth mentioning here that cotton crop cultivation has witnessed about 6.9 percent increase during crop season 2022-23 as compared to the corresponding period of last year. The sowing targets were achieved by 81.3pc as cultivation completed over 2m hectares as against the set targets of 2.461m hectares, which was recorded at 1.187m hectares during last season. However, crop sowing remained below than the targets fixed for current season as cotton was cultivated over 2.00m hectares as compared to set targets of 2.461 million hectares set for current season. The Punjab province achieved about 81.5pc of sowing targets and completed cotton cultivation over 1.485m hectares as against the set targets of 1.821m hectares of last year. The cotton sowing in Punjab witnessed about 16pc growth during current season as compared to the sowing of last season, whereas area under crop sowing would further strengthen as prices of the commodity remained on increasing trajectory throughout last season.

Meanwhile, Sindh province, which is another largest cotton producing province of the country achieved 80.5 percent of its sowing targets and cultivated crop over 0.515 million hectares as against the set targets of 0.640 million hectares of last year.