Chairman APTMA North, Mr. Kamran Arshad, said Friday that APTMA has focused on improving the quality of cotton as a raw material by India and Brazil to achieve high per-acre yield, traceability, and sustainability.
On Friday, He spoke in an interactive session on the Traceable and Sustainable Cotton Initiative with renowned expert Mr. Shad Mustafa. Executives Mr. Muhammad Ali, Dr. Javed Hassan, Mr. Ismail Fareed, and Secretary General Mr. Raza Baqir were also present.
Mr. Shad Mustafa briefed APTMA members on how his team has achieved better cotton production under the Mehrgarh Cotton project. He said the information flow was recorded through a blockchain on the fields. Also, he said, GPS locations and drones were used to monitor the nourishment of plants, waterlogging, etc.
According to him, traceability has become crucial for entering textile products in the US. Pakistan has a substantial opportunity to excel in its presence in the US market in a situation when issues like child labor and human rights violations are taken very seriously by the US government.
He said his team at the Mehrgarh ensured crop protection, water stewardship, soil management, biodiversity and land use, fiber quality, and decent work practices to achieve sustainability. He said a QR code was generated from the traceability system to ensure production quality. Accordingly, the trash content stood lower, around 7.5% against 9% in the market. In addition, he said, the staple length was in the range of 27.6 mm at the project.
Mr. Shad said exposure to natural disasters demands an immediate response, and they had engaged international insurance companies for crop insurance because the domestic ones could not bear the claim in case of loss. He said strong efforts were made to mitigate the losses by use of pesticides against pests such as White Fly, Jassids, Armyworms, and Pink bollworms.
He said they plan to put together a team for more significant acreage in the province of Sindh and are preparing to scale up to 7000 acres under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).
Chairman APTMA North appreciated the project and the results it had produced. He termed it a remarkable effort by the Mehrgarh project team. He pointed out that APTMA has already set up the Cotton Foundation to overcome the issues in the field of cotton production, from seed certification to traceability and sustainability. APTMA has already started streamlining seed certification under the aegis of the Foundation.
According to him, Pakistan has spent One to two billion dollars on the import of cotton. He said the country’s exports heavily rely on textile products; therefore, it is high time to invest heavily in this sector to achieve the desired results. He said huge investment is likely to take place in the textile sector downstream, and there is a need to work on issues like traceability and sustainability in the field of cotton production.