MULTAN-The office-bearers of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) boycotted on Thursday the meeting of Cotton Crop Management Group, accusing the state officials of misleading the media and the nation.

Talking to the journalists, PCGA Chairman Shahzad Ali Khan said that the agriculture department released wrong and baseless statistics regarding cotton sowing as the government completely failed to persuade the farmer to sow cotton. He warned that the cotton production in current year would be even lower than the previous year. “There is no reality in their (agri officials’) claims that the cotton is sowed over just 14 percent less area. They have done nothing except paying lip-service to persuade grower to sow cotton,” he alleged.

He said that the Punjab agriculture minister had been writing letters to the Prime Minister for the last two months, requesting him to direct Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to fix support price of phutti and ensure procurement of two million bales. “He expressed his fear that if the above mentioned steps were not taken, the cotton crop in 2016-17 season could drop by 50 per cent while on the other hand agri officials claim that cotton is sowed on just 14 per cent less area,” he pointed out. He warned that the GDP growth would witness further decline in 2016-17 if the same conditions persisted. “It will jolt the economy,” he maintained.

He said that no clear cotton policy was given by the government despite horrible cotton crisis in 2015-16. He pointed out that the shifting of sugar mills to the cotton belt was unlawful while import of cotton via Wahga border was poisonous for national economy.

He claimed that the cotton yield in 2016-17 would also remain very low but the government would get rid of responsibility by declaring unfavourable weather, storms, rains and flood the reasons. He declared that the ginners would not let the government ruin ginning sector like CNG. He demanded the government to consider the recommendations made by the stakeholders instead of relying upon the reports prepared by the bureaucrats. He warned that the delay in taking the stakeholders on-board would ruin national economy.