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Role of cotton in Pakistan Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world, the third largest exporter

of raw cotton, the fourth largest consumer of cotton, and the largest exporter of cotton yarn. 1.3 million Farmers (out of a total of 5 million) cultivate cotton over 3 million hectares, covering 15 per cent of the cultivable area in the country. Cotton and cotton products contribute about 10 per cent to GDP and 55 per cent to the foreign exchange earnings of the country. Taken as a whole, between 30 and 40 per cent of the cotton ends up as domestic consumption of final products. The remaining is exported as raw cotton, yarn, cloth, and garments.

Cotton production supports Pakistans largest industrial sector, comprising some 400 textile mills, 7 million spindles, 27,000 looms in the mill sector (including 15,000 shuttle less looms), over 250,000 looms in the non-mill sector, 700 knitwear units, 4,000 garment units (with 200,000 sewing machines), 650 dyeing and finishing units (with finishing capacity of 1,150 million square meters per year), nearly 1,000 ginneries, 300 oil expellers, and 15,000 to 20,000 indigenous, small scale oil expellers (kohl us). It is by any measure Pakistans most important economic sector. Not surprisingly, government policy has generally been used to maintain a stable and often relatively low domestic price of cotton, especially since 1986-87 through the imposition of export duties, in order to support domestic industry.

First BT Cotton Grown in Pakistan Cotton is an important cash crop for Pakistan known as white gold. It accounts for 8.2 percent of the value added in agriculture and about 3.2 percent to GDP; around two thirds of the countrys export earnings are from the cotton made-up and textiles which adds over $2.5 billion to the national economy; while hundreds of ginning factories and textile mills in the country heavily depends upon cotton. Life of millions of farmers is dependent on this crop, in addition

to millions of people employed along the entire cotton value chain, from weaving to textile and garment exports The area under the cultivation of cotton crops has been increased significantly in the last 30 years - around 7.85 million acres in 2005-06 as compared to 7.2 million acres in 2002-03. Beside being the worlds fourth-largest cotton producer and the third largest exporter of raw cotton and a leading exporter of yarn in the world our yield per acres ranks 13th in the world; as a result Pakistan annually imports around 1.5-2.00 million bales of cotton to meet growing demand from local textile mills; therefore it has become vital for Pakistan to increase its yield per acre.

If we look at the Pakistan scenario, two major types of pests are damaging our cotton crops sucking and chewing; to certain extent it is easier to control sucking pest by strong pesticides but is very challenging to control chewing pests - Bollworms known as Sundies American, Army, Pink and Spotted - cause major devastations in the cotton crop fields; as a result of this, overall both quality of lint and production of cotton have declined substantially. Moreover, recent disaster resulting from the cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) spread in Punjab and Sind pushed our institutes like Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) and Nuclear Institute of Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) in Faisalabad, and National center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (NCEMB) at Punjab University Lahore to cope with such problems; significant amount of financial resources and manpower have been committed by the Government of Pakistan for developing genetically modified (GM) local cotton varieties.

Farmers, who cultivated these Bt cotton varieties at heart of cotton growing regions in Punjab Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzaffer Garh and Karor Pakka; observed and evaluated independently its resistance and susceptibility to different pests including factors like a biotic stress and yield than compared it with non Bt cotton varieties grown in the same locations. A large number of farmers have visited these fields, and become aware of the benefits of the locally developed BT cotton.

Today, all major cotton producing countries are benefiting from the cultivation of Bt Cotton. In the last season 54 percent of cotton crops grown in USA, 76 percent in China and 80 percent in Australia were with single or double BT gene technology. India, the worlds third-largest cotton-grower has cultivated 1.36 million acres of BT cotton crops. It is expected that within two years more than half the worlds cotton may be grown from genetically modified crops.

Crop reviews carried out by various independent sources illustrate that unrecorded sowing of new Bt cotton varieties also played its role in increasing cotton productivity, with unofficial estimates suggesting 3 to 5 percent of the area in Punjab and 10 to 15 percent of the area in Sind may have been planted in transgenic cotton.