STAFF REPORT MULTAN: Cotton farmers have been advised to ensure picking of clean cotton pleading that contamination reduces price of home grown cotton in the international market that translates into Rs 10 billion annual loss to the national economy.

“Pakistan has been ranked third in the list of countries facing cotton contamination problem,” said Dr Sageer, the media liaison unit of Punjab Agriculture Department in a statement issued here.

He said that the cotton farmers should begin cotton picking after 10 am when dew drops get dried up from the boll and plants and 40-50 percent of bolls are fully ripe and opened. According to him, pre-mature picking yields low quality fibre of lesser strength which attracts lower price.

Dr Sagheer said attack of white fly and pink bollworm has been noticed in cotton fields. White fly leaves a sweet sticking material on leave which trigger fungus that slows down the photosynthesis process and turns cotton fibre black.

He also said that picking process should begin from bottom to top to avoid attachment of contamination to fibre in the bolls. Cotton cloth should be utilized to keep cotton flowers during picking and the fibre should be free from moisture, other parts of plant, jute fibre. After picking, cotton should be placed at a high, clean and dry place.

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