Business

ISLAMABAD (APP) – Minister for Commerce Engr Khurram Dastagir Khan Friday told the National Assembly that Pakistan was the 4th largest cotton producing country in the world since 1965 and government was taking steps to bring further improvement in cotton industry.

Replying to various questions during question hour, he said that the government was taking steps to avoid forced child labour in cotton industry, adding concrete steps were also being taken to avoid use of pesticides which was causing life threatening harms to these children.

He said in next session the ministry would inform the house regarding number of forced child labour in cotton industry adding that in this regard Punjab and Sindh governments had started steps to address the issue.

He said agricultural pesticides were regulated under Agricultural Pesticides Ordinance (APO) 1971 and amendment (act) 1992 and 1997.

The import, distribution and sale of agro commodities are in the private sector, he said.The minister said according to the WHO toxicity classification the registered pesticides in Pakistan were moderately slightly hazardous and easily degradable.

No pesticides other than internationally recommended following FAO code of conduct on distribution and use of pesticides are registered in Pakistan. Pesticides if use on agricultural farms on recommended dosage, according to the recommended method, and with safety measures pose no significant hazard to human health, he added.

He said that the government has banned all pesticides having potential for damaging human health as declared by the Rotterdam Convention. Parliamentary Secretary for Inter Province Coordination said that the government had taken action regarding child labour at brick kilns and admitted these children in schools for their basic right of education.