Punjab Minister for Agriculture Syed Hussain Jahanian Gardezi on Wednesday said that revival of cotton was the first priority of Punjab government as the cotton crop supported the country’s economy. He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting to review the current situation of cotton at the Mango Research Institute, Multan after assuming the charge of Minister of Agriculture, says a handout issued here. The meeting also reviewed the severity and nature of control of pests attacking on the cotton crop including integrated pest management (IPM) plots. The provincial minister said that the future of cotton was linked to IPM, adding that implementation of IPM not only increased the yield but also significantly reduced the cost of the farmers. He said that the months of August, September were very crucial for better care of cotton, adding that Agriculture department should guide the farmers to ensure the cotton production target. He said that beneficial insects bred in biological laboratories were being provided free of cost to the farmers. On the occasion Saqib Ali Secretary Agriculture South Punjab while briefing the Minister of Agriculture Punjab said that the department had appointed the monitors in all the districts of cotton cultivation to review the activities of cotton, who were visiting their respective areas regularly and shared the reports about cotton. He said that despite the natural calamities, better production was being obtained from the crop planted in April. He said that 121 IPM cotton exhibition plots were planted last year. As a result of growing confidence of farmers in IPM, 235 IPM demonstration plots of cotton had been planted this year covering an area of 2,000 acres, which were in excellent condition and yielding better yields, he added. He further said that the cotton crop was facing various challenges due to heat wave and abnormal rainfall. About 80,000 acres had been affected due to the heat wave and about 71,000 acres due to rains and floods. The crop had been under pressure due to lack of water and high temperature in March and April, he added. Additional Secretary Agriculture South Punjab (Admin) Syed Naveed Alam, Director General Pest Warning Rana Faqir Hussain, Director Cotton Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Deputy Director Agricultural Information Punjab Naveed Asmat Kahloon and others were present.