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Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, India, and Pakistan.SUITABLE CLIMATIC CONDITIONS FOR COTTON IN PAKISTANCotton is primarily grown in dry tropical and subtropical climates at temperatures between 11°C and 25°C (80F -100F). It is a warm climate crop threatened by heath or freezing temperatures (below 5°C or above 25°C), although its resistance varies from species to species. Excessive exposure to dryness or moisture at certain stages of the plant development (lasting 5 to 7 months) may be detrimental to cotton quality and yields, and might also kill the plant.The plain area of Punjab and sindh provinces are almost suitable for its cultivation.Naturally 3o” to 40″ inches annual rainfall is sufficient for its growth, but in our country average annual rainfall is more or less then 20″ inches, which is insufficient. so because of this without artificial irrigation its cultivation is not possible, thus area of Punjab and sindh province canal irrigation facilities have been provided, and in some area irrigation work in performed by tube-wells etc.The alluvial soil is more suitable for its growth. The soil having a mixture of clay and sand give better results. In Pakistan it is mostly cultivated in dry area of Punjab and sindh provinces.COTTON YIELDThe 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 world’s 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.COTTON GROWING AREA OF PAKISTANIn Pakistan cotton grown in canal irrigated areas of Punjab and sindh provinces. in Punjab provinces. the Multan division ranks at the top, so far as the production of cotton is concerned, beside this Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Lahore, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi divisions have the serial number according to production. In thes area s American medium staple cotton is grown, and a small quantity of Desi quqlities cotton is allowed to grow for domestic use.The provinces of sindh is also produces enough cotton. The canal irrigated areas of sindh especially the Hyderabad division is at the top after that some other district of sukkur division . Both type of cotton is produces in this division. Production of surplus amount of cotton is produce through these all division which meet the demand of cotton textile industry.CULTIVATIONIn our country cotton is cultivated in summer season, as there is little difference between the season in various provinces e.g in the sindh cotton cultivation begins in the month of April and its picking starts from august but in Punjab it is grown mostly in the month ofMay or June and picking begins in September or October.Cotton is mostly grown in rows and minimum distance between row to row is kept about 1and half feet similarly the minimum distance between plant to plant remains about 6″ inches. In some area broad cast method is used for cultivation.QUALITIES OF COTTON IN PAKISTANIn our country two main varieties of cotton are cultivated.1.AMERICAN QUALITIES2.DESI OR LOCAL QUALITIESThe government has established two cotton research centers at Multan (Punjab) and Tando jam(Sindh). These centers have recommended the following qualities of cotton for growers in various area of Punjab and sindh provinces.1) Sindh Provinces:-•Sirmast•Qalindri•k-68/69•Desi qualities2)Punjab Province:-•Delta Pine M.S.39*40 – B -57•149.F Ac – 134•Nayab 86•M.H.H.93•desi qualities•Nayab 78•Bt- cottonLOW YIELD CAUSES OF COTTONThere are many reasons for low yields of cotton crop in Pakistan – high price of agriculture inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc), higher intensity of insects and pests attack, shortage of good quality and varieties of seeds, deficiency of water for irrigation, lack of advance technologies, awareness and agro-professionalism, and adulterations in pesticides, fertilizers and seeds.It is unfortunate that there is no proper cotton crop insurance system available in Pakistan, while government does not provide any support or subsidy to cotton growers for inputs – resulted in frustration and lack of motivation in cotton growers. Farmers are facing with a number of risks till marketing of their crops including unexpected factors like inflation, high price of energy, unfair competition and speculation in open market by big cotton buyers. Although, government claims that they have excellent micro-economy policy to improve the livelihood of farmers and elimination of poverty in rural area through bank-loans offered to the farmers, however, the interest rates are fairly high.MAJOR PEST ATTACK ON COTTON CROP OF PAKISTANPakistan facing two major types of pests 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. Moreover, recent disaster resulting from the cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) spread in Punjab and Sindh 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.ADVANCEMENT IN COTTON CROP FIELDn May 2005 PAEC provided 40,000.00 Kg basic seed of Bt cotton (insect resistant) varieties “IR-FH-901”, “IR-NIBGE-2”, “IR-CIM-448” and “IR-CIM-443”; which have been grown over 8,000 acres of land in season 2005-06.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 abiotic 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.USES OF COTTONCotton is used to make a number of textile products. These include terrycloth for highly absorbent bath towels and robes; denim for blue jeans; chambray, popularly used in the manufacture of blue work shirts (from which we get the term “blue-collar”); and corduroy, seersucker, and cotton twill. Socks, underwear, and most T-shirts are made from cotton. Bed sheets often are made from cotton. Cotton also is used to make yarn used in crochet and knitting.In addition to the textile industry, cotton is used in fishnets, coffee filters, tents, gunpowder, cotton paper, and in bookbinding.The cottonseed which remains after the cotton is ginned is used to produce cottonseed oil, which, after refining, can be consumed by humans like any other vegetable oil. The cottonseed meal that is left generally is fed to ruminant livestock; the gossypol remaining in the meal is toxic to monogastric animals.Cotton linters are fine, silky fibers which adhere to the seeds of the cotton plant after ginning. These curly fibers typically are less than 1/8 in (3 mm) long. Linters are traditionally used in the manufacture of paper and as a raw material in the manufacture of cellulose.Shiny cotton is a processed version of the fiber that can be made into cloth resembling satin for shirts and suits. However, it is hydrophobic (does not absorb water easily), which makes it unfit for use in bath and dish towels .
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