Introduction

Cotton is the most important cash crop of Pakistan. It is a major source of foreign exchange earnings and also provides livelihood to millions of people in Pakistan. Southern Punjab (Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and D.G. Khan Divisions) having cotton–wheat-cotton cropping pattern is a major belt of cotton production in Punjab. Cotton Research Station Multan is the first and the oldest cotton research centre established in Southern Punjab with the main objective of developing cotton varieties particularly for this cotton belt. It is the hub of cotton research activities and up till now16 varieties of cotton have been evolved at this research station which is the highest number in Punjab. MNH-93, S-12 and MNH-886 (Bt.) have been the most popular varieties cultivated on more than 60% and about 30 % area in Punjab and Sindh provinces respectively. Total impact on economic contribution of CRS Multan verities is estimated about 600 million rupees which is the highest share by any other cotton research centre in Pakistan. At present the main focus of research study is to solve major problem of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus disease which has been causing a colossal loss of 2-3 million bales annually. Besides heat tolerance and drought tolerance are the other main areas where research work is actively going on. Currently, study on two projects funded by Punjab Agriculture Research Board “Introgression of cotton leaf curl virus resistance genes from Gossypium arboreum (desi cotton) into Gossypium hirsutum (upland cotton) and Development and commercialization of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus resistant/tolerant indigenous transgenic Bt and Glyphosate resistant cotton hybrids” is also in progress. The peculiar feature of this research station is its extensive studies on interspecific hybridization. We have maintained germplasm of 22 species and developed interspecific hybrids. We have collaboration with USDA through ICARDA for exploring CLCuV resistant sources of cotton, and Nanjing Agriculture University China where one scientist from this research station is doing Ph.D. on identification of cotton leaf curl resistance through molecular techniques. We are also imparting training to undergraduate students of different universities and colleges. At present we have a team of 21 scientists constituting four sections, i.e., Plant Breeding & Genetics, Entomology, Agronomy and Fiber Technology. 40 experiments are conducted on various aspects of cotton on 21 acres of land.

Mission & Objectives

The main objectives of this station are as under: -
  • Enrichment of cotton germplasm
  • To develop new varieties of cotton suited to southern Punjab
  • To explore cotton leaf curl virus immune/resistant genetic sources of cotton
  • To evolve heat and drought tolerant varieties of cotton
  • To develop long staple varieties of cotton
  • To develop cotton production technology for small farmers
  • To extend advisory services to farming community for enhancing their production

History

Cotton Research Station Multan was established in 1935 as a testing centre and upgraded in 1958 as full fledge Cotton Research Station Multan. It is the oldest and important cotton research centre in Punjab.

Future Plan

  • Germplasm enhancement through import and interspecific hybridization to broaden the genetic base of cotton
  • Development of cotton varieties having bollworm, glyphosate and CLCuV resistance
  • Development of ideotypes suited for mechanical picking
  • To study the mechanism of resistance of different pests against pesticides
  • Study of host plants of emerging pests like dusky cotton bug and red cotton bug etc.
  • Molecular assisted selection for CLCuV resistance, long staple cotton, heat tolerance and drought tolerance etc. We need establishment of molecular lab for this purpose
  • Quality assessment of new cotton varieties to facilitate the breeders and to provide quality material to the industry as per the requirement
  • Utilization of cotton by-products and crop residues for value added products
  • Research and skill oriented Human Resource Development
  • Development of low cost production technology for small farmers

Target for production consumption, seed cotton yield per hectare and exports are given as under:

Production
25 million bales
Consumption
22.5 million bales
Seed cotton yield
1200 kg/ha
Exports
30 billion us dollar