Pakistan will provide rs. 400 mn in subsidy to farmers to import PB rope from the current sowing season, said Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner in the Ministry of national food security and research. The amount is being allocated to raise per-acre cotton output across the crop sowing areas by minimising pest attacks, particularly from pink bollworm.

PB rope is a thin tube of about 6 inches of fibre in which an aromatic substance is kept in a fine tube in the form of chemicals. These ropes are planted in a block of at least 25 acres, 150-100 ropes per acre. In the block of PB ropes, the aroma of the substance spreads and the male cannot find the female. The number of pink bollworms thus does not increase and the crop is protected from the attack of pink bollworm for at least 90 days.

The government, in coordination with the private sector, has also designed a holistic programme to ensure provision of certified cotton seeds to farmers to achieve maximum per-acre crop output during the season, Abdullah told.

A training programme was initiated in Multan, where more than 75 farmers and employees of private seed companies were trained on pest management, crop production technology and seed testing. This step would help address seed germination issues that had reduced crop output during the last season, he said.

Thirty people each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would also be trained. The training initiative will start in the third week of this month. The targets for cotton cultivation would be fixed in the annual meeting of Federal Committee of Agriculture, scheduled to meet in first week of next month, he added.