FAISALABAD-The cotton cultivation will commence from first week of April and the Punjab agriculture department has set a target of 4 million acres for cotton cultivation in the province.
Director Agriculture (Extension) Department Faisalabad Chaudhry Abdul Hameed told APP on Saturday that cotton was one of the most important fiber crops in the world as it was used to make cloth and other textile products while its seed oil was used as a raw material for the preparation of Banaspati Ghee. Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world while Punjab was sharing 80% in the total cotton production, he added.
He said that mostly cotton was produced in central areas of the Punjab including Multan, Khanewal, Vehari, Lodhran, Bahawal Nagar, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Sahiwal and Rahim Yar Khan districts whereas Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Bhakkar, Mianwali, Kasur, Okara and Pakpattan districts have second level in cotton production.
He said the Punjab government had also decided to provide subsidy of Rs 1,000 per bag to cotton growers on approved varieties of cotton seeds in addition to the subsidies on pesticides for white-fly control. He said that (Mera) land was better to get bumper yield of the cotton. The farmers should use rotavater, disc harrow or reversible plough to prepare land so that roots of the plant can easily go to the depths.
He said that cotton plant likes heat and dislikes cold. Some farmers are cultivating the cotton crop early but early cultivation leads to an increase in attacks on the cotton crop by pests, especially pink bollworm and juice-sucking insects. Therefore, the cotton crop should be planted on the time recommended by agriculture experts. He said that after harvesting wheat, the farmers should select BT cotton varieties in the light of suitable area, available resources and experience of previous years. Among the approved varieties include MNH-1016, MNH-1020, MNH-1026, MNH-1035, FH-490, BS-20, CIM-663, NIAB-1011, Hatf-3, Camb Clean Cotton-3, ICI-2424, IUB-222, FH-142, IUB-13, MNH-886, Saito-179, NIAB-878, BS-15, NIAB-545, NIAB-1048, IR NIBGE-II and Eagle-II, etc.
The farmers should start cultivation of cotton from 1st April and complete it by May 31 as this is most suitable time for cultivation of BT varieties.