ISLAMABAD - The Board of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) on Friday approved Rs690.65 million budget for the financial year 2017-18 in order to meet the financial requirements of the committee.

The 85th meeting of the PCCC held here with Minister for Commerce and Textile Industry Pervaiz Malik in the chair to discuss the matters of committee. The Ministry of Textile Industry federal secretary, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association, Karachi Cotton Association and representatives of provincial governments attended the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that it was an important cash crop of the country, providing raw material for the local industrial sector and main source of export earnings. He asked for restructuring the PCCC in order to enhance its performance in research and development for uplift of cotton crop in the country.

Malik also asked for formulating a committee comprising on the members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), members of the National Assembly, farmers and other bodies involved in cotton trade and research to formulate a comprehensive policy for research and development of advanced cotton varieties to optimising the per-acre crop output.

The minister also directed for removing the concerns of Aptma and formulating business plan in order to make the organisation more efficient. Meanwhile, Cotton Commissioner Dr Khalid Abdullah informed the meeting that PCCC developed 11 cotton varieties during last year, whereas 291 experiments were made and 68 varieties were tested during the period under review.

The committee tested pesticides at 17 location and organised training courses for cotton farmers on pre and post harvest mechanism. He informed the committee that receivables from the 166 local textile mills in terms of cotton cess had reached to Rs625m, where as recovery of the cotton cess was also declined. The PCCC was informed that income in terms of cotton cess had also reduced as it was recorded at Rs209.60m in 2016-17 as against the receiving of Rs529.76m of 2013-14.