MULTAN - Additional Secretary Agriculture Punjab Hussain Sardar has said that cotton sowing on 84 percent land of total target had been completed so far while extra efforts were being made to achieve 9.5 million cotton bales production. He said that cotton sowing was 16 percent below from total sowing target and 14 percent from last year as May-30 was deadline date for cotton sowing. While, briefing to media at Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) after second cotton crop management group meeting here on Thursday, Additional secretary said that advisory committees including agriculture officials, deputy district officers, district officials and field staff were engaged in cotton belt areas to create awareness among growers about maximum cotton sowing and getting better cotton production.

He said that the department was working on war-footing and campaign was launched through media to control white fly and pink blue warm diseases.

Hussain said that cotton seed reform project was being operational to solve the recent cotton crisis while Rs three billion had been earmarked for this project. He said that the government had also given approval for establishing Punjab Agriculture Commission to resolve the agri related problems.

He further informed that Punjab government is going to start providing Rs 40,000 interest-free loan to small growers for khareef season and Rs 25,000 per acre for Rabbi through smartphones.

Additional secretary said that the provincial government would bear 80 percent expenditures to shift the 20000 acre agriculture land on drip-irrigation system.

He said that the provincial government would offer smartphones to growers while 1.8 billion had been earmarked for provision of latest machinery to growers, adding that service centres would be set up across the province to provide tractor, laser land leveller, harvester, bulldozers and heavy machinery. The growers were asked to apply fertilizer, water and pesticide following the weather condition from Metrological office.