THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, MULTAN, 09th OCTOBER 2013:
The Punjab government would provide 100,000 biogas tube-wells to growers at subsidised prices, Agriculture Minister Farrukh Javed said on Tuesday.
He was addressing a meeting of the Cotton Crop Management Group (CCMG) at the Central Cotton Research Institute.
The minister said that a feasibility report had been prepared and that Rs7.5 billion had been allocated to extend the benefit of subsidy to growers for provision of biogas and solar tube-wells.
Under the project, he said, some diesel-powered tube-wells would also be converted to biogas.
He said the amount of subsidy to growers was yet to be decided, however, he added, that a maximum benefit would be extended to farmers under the initiative.
The minister said that Pakistan had a potential of producing 15 million bales of cotton and had once nearly reached that figure when 14.8 million cotton bales were produced a few years ago. However, he said, hot weather and floods had played havoc with the crop in recent years. Factors such as shortage of water had brought production estimates down to 8.5 million bales this year, he said.
“The floods damaged around 240,000 acres of the cotton crop and 159,000 acres of them were completely destroyed,” he said.
He said the government was aware of the water shortage problem. The Water and Power Development Authority and the Irrigation Department officials would be invited to attend the next CCMG meeting to address the problem, he said.
The minister said he was closely monitoring the situation regarding fake pesticides cases.