Scientists for improving

cotton production

MULTAN (APP): Cotton Commissioner Textile Ministry Dr Khalid Abdullah has urged agricultural scientists to develop varieties which could resist against disease, pests and environmental changes.

He was chairing a meeting to review causes of low production of cotton here on Wednesday. He said there was need to bring about changes in patterns of irrigation, cultivation of seeds and other agriculture practices. On the occasion, former speaker National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imam also called for conducting more research on cotton crop. Director General Met Office Dr Ghulam Rasool said environmental changes were being expected in coming years. He said there was need to improve liaison between Met office and the agricultur department.

The meeting participants also reviewed different factors which were affecting cotton production and decided to take immediate steps in this regard.

PIAF wants new trade policy at the earliest

LAHORE (APP): Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Wednesday urged the government to announce Trade, and Auto Policy 2015-18 at the earliest, since its delay is causing loss to business community and subsequently delay in acceleration of economic activity.PIAF Chairman, Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said here that these policies were supposed to be launch in July 2015. Later it was told that it would be announced in the first week of November 2015 but still no signs for issuance. He hoped these policies would give new life to trade and commerce both domestic and foreign and give a new direction to imports and exports.

Irfan Sheikh said the business community was anxiously waiting for the trade policy announcement in the hope that it would improve the business climate as it was believed the new trade policy envisaged many positive aspects of imports and exports, and is expected to promote exports which had downward trend for the last three years.

He said that in 2012-13, the export volume was $ 25110 million, in 2013-14 the volume was $ 24110 million and in 2014-15 the export volume was $ 23885 million, which was alarming.

He said that trade policy must be inclusive as it has been framed with the recommendations of the various trade organizations and the business community is confident that it would promote and facilitate business and increase investment.

The PIAF Chairman mentioned the commerce minister had promised with business community to give incentives to exporters; protect indigenous industries; facilitate import of packing and raw materials; make quality control and inspection systems superior and efficient; and streamline the imports and exports under most favoured nations (MFN) to make them beneficial for the economy and the business community.

Over Rs56m released for ports and shipping development

ISLAMABAD (APP): The government has so far released Rs 56.870 million for various ongoing and new development projects of the ports and shipping out of the total budget of Rs12,000 million for the division for fiscal year 2015-16.The amount has been released under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2015-16 approved by the government in the beginning of this fiscal year. Out of the funds released so far, Rs50 million have been provided for the construction of Eastbay Express Way (EPEC) for which Rs.4700 million have been approved for current fiscal year. The total cost of this project has been fixed at Rs.14,061 million, with foreign component of Rs.13,542, according to the official data.

The data revealed that so far Rs.40 million have been spent on the project upto the beginning of the current fiscal year.

The government also released Rs.2.970 million for reactivation of Hatchery Complex for production of fish and shrimp seed in Karachi. The government has approved budget of Rs.10 million for this project in the fiscal year 2015-16.

The total cost of this project is Rs.406 million, out of which just Rs.01 million have been spent upto June 2015.

The another project, for which the government has released funds of Rs.3.9 million is up gradation and accreditation of quality control laboratories of Marine Fisheries Department for environmental Contaminants Karachi.

The government has earmarked Rs.13 million for this project for year 2015-16 under PSDP.

The total cost of this project is Rs.60 million our of which just Rs.0.2 million have been spent upto June 2015 It is pertinent to mention here that the government has released over Rs 168.247 billion for different social sector developmental projects under PSDP as against the total allocation of Rs 700 billion earmarked for the ongoing fiscal year.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan has been following a proper mechanism to release funds. According to the mechanism, 20 percent of funds are released during first quarter, 20 percent in Second Quarter (October-December) 30 percent in third quarter (January-March) and remaining 30 percent in the fourth quarter (April-June).

Farmers urged to tackle termite issue properly

MULTAN (APP): Agriculture experts have advised farmers to keep their crops, orchards, forests and lawns safe from termites and adopt timely measures to avoid losses. In a release issued by media liaison unit of Punjab agriculture department, experts said that termite attack can leave a plant or a tree dry. Termites attack plants of wheat, cotton, maize, sugarcane, pulses and fruit trees. A termite affected plant has so weaker bond with soil that it can easily be uprooted. Farmers should perform hoeing properly or apply the Bar Harrow plough. They should avoid applying fresh animal waste as fertilizers. Farmers should also destroy wherever they find termite colonies in the field.

They can also apply suitable pesticides in consultation with agriculture officials to control termites.

Pakistan, Balarus agree to

enhance trade, business activities

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan and Balarus Wednesday agreed to enhance people to people contact, exchange of delegations to amplify trade and business activities between the two countries. Minister for Industry of Belarus, Vitaly Vovk and Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif met here and discussed bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, defense and technological development, said a press release issued here. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Water and Power said that Pakistan had had a lot of potential for the foreign investors, adding that policies of the government were business friendly. He urged the Belarusian Minister to come and make investment in energy and agriculture sectors in Pakistan.

It was apprised that Belarus was equipped with modern technologies in coal mining, dam construction and agriculture sector development.

"Our technology is European base, having good quality and low price", the Minister added.

The Minister also accepted the invitation extended by the Belarusian's Minister to visit to Belarus.