LAHORE: In a major decision to arrest the declining cotton production in the province owing to multiple factors, the Punjab government imposed on Saturday Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to prevent the farmers from sowing cotton crop before April 15 this year.
The provincial agriculture department in its media advisory to the cotton growers has issued warning that the cotton crop which will be sown before April 15 will be wiped off by the field officials and action will be initiated against them under Section 144.
It says that earlier sowing practice of cotton not only invites sucking pest on the standing crop but also creates hurdles in the official annual production target. The advisory further says one of the major reasons behind shortfall in cotton production is before time sowing so the growers are advised not to start sowing before April 15 to avoid loss.
Minister says move is meant to improve yield
A source in the agriculture department told Dawn that contrary to the past exercise of promoting earlier sowing culture since 2009-10, the department this year has issued warning advisory to the growers not to sow crop before April 15 the real time for sowing seasonal cotton seed.
He claimed that apparently the authorities took the decision after acknowledging that Bt cotton seed, which was earlier sown in February/March of previous years to avoid cotton pest attack and get more yield, has failed to deliver.
The source further said pink bollworm and other sucking pests continued to be troublesome for cotton crop in the past few years. He further said Bt cotton seed which was promoted by the government in the last few years had almost replaced the seasonal cotton seed which is sown from April 15.
Punjab Agriculture Minister Muhammad Naeem Akhtar Bhabha confirmed the imposition of Section 144, saying such a decision has been taken for the first time in the history of agriculture department. “The move is an attempt to arrest the declining crop yield which has been badly affected because of changing weather patterns and pest attacks,” he said.
He said the profit margin of growers also got reduced because of non-use of latest cotton genes compared to crop productivity and profits they earned in initial years by using first generation of Bt cotton around 10 years ago.
Courtesy : Dawn News