Caretaker Minister for Agriculture, Food, Planning and Development Sardar Tanvir Ilyas said Friday that water issue should be taken seriously and all stakeholders should contribute to resolving it on a war-footing. While addressing a meeting at CCRI here, he said that water issue should be treated as a national obligation and stressed the need for proper management of water across the country at all levels.
He urged the people to avoid wasting water at home, and work places and farmers should adopt modern technology to save water. He said that there were 2500 to 3000 sites in Punjab where dams could be built and added that Punjab government was taking initiatives to construct small and big dams to preserve water. Sardar Tanvir Ilyas said that cotton farmers could not get better price of cotton during last few year and gradually drifted to other crops. He suggested that support price of cotton should be announced to keep farmers’ interest in the cash crop alive. He described cotton as an important source of foreign exchange and said it plays important role in national economy.
He said that cotton crop sowing target of 5.7 million acres was achieved by 99.28 per cent in Punjab and all out efforts would be made to meet 10 million bales production target. He said that 22300 cotton farmers of Multan, Bahawalpur and DG Khan divisions benefited from a scheme under which they were provided certified cotton seed of selected varieties at a price involving subsidy worth Rs 700 per bag. He said, Rs 147.4 million worth of subsidy was extended to farmers for provision of spray machines. Moreover, 50-acre demonstration plots employing PB-Ropes technology to tackle pink boll worm were established, one each, at 54 tehsils of Punjab. About substandard cotton seed, minister informed that he has directed the officials concerned to look into the matter and take initiatives to curb it.
He said that no one can be allowed to sell substandard seed pleading seed was a pivotal factor for better cotton production. Secretary agriculture Wasif Khursheed, additional secretary agriculture task force Beenish Fatima Sahi, Vice Chancellor Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) Prof. Dr. Asif Ali, Cotton Commissioner Dr. Khalid Abdullah, DG agriculture research Dr. Abid Mahmood, DG agriculture extension Syed Zafaryab Haidar, DG pest warning Chaudhry Khalid Mahmood, director agriculture information Rai Mudassir Abbas, director CCRI Multan Dr. Zahid Mahmood, Director Cotton Dr. Sagheer Ahmad and other officials besides farmers attended meeting.