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June 24, 2011

Agriculturists expect bumper crops

You

YD
you desk
June 24, 2011

KARACHI: Agriculturists expect substantial crop growth in financial year 2011/12 because of timely availability of water.
General Secretary Sindh Abadgar Board, Syed Mehmood Nawaz Shah, told The News on Thursday that contrary to outgoing financial year, all crops are likely to record bumper output in 2011-2012 thanks to timely and sufficient availability of water.
He said that the problem is management of the upcoming bumper crops and they fear decline in prices as prices of cotton have gone down in the international market.
Pakistan Central Cotton Committee has set a target of 15 million bales this year. Cotton has a share of 6.9 percent in agriculture and 1.4 percent in GDP.
In 2010/11, major crops declined by four percent and farm sector recorded a modest growth of 1.2 percent.
Cotton and rice production remained low because of floods and rain, but wheat and sugarcane recorded growth, which saved the agriculture sector from negative growth.
Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-11 said cotton was cultivated on an area of 2,689 thousand hectares, 13.4 percent less than last year (3,106 thousand hectares). The production is estimated at 11.5 million bales, lower by 11.3 percent over the last year’s production of 12.9 million bales and 17.9 percent less than the target of 14 million bales.
The reasons for decrease in production is loss in area under cultivation due to floods, rains, widespread attack of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) and sucking pest in core and non-core area, shortage of water due to canal closure during flood.
Shah said that CLCV attacked cotton in Punjab in the end of June, so this year they have sown early crop, whose results are still not known.
Sugarcane was cultivated on an area of 988,000 hectares, 4.8 percent higher than last year’s level of 943,000 hectares.
Sugarcane production for the year 2010-11 is estimated at 55.3 million tons as against production of 49.3 million tons last year, a rise of 12

percent.
Sugarcane is a major raw material for the production of white sugar and gur and is also a cash crop. Its share in value-added sector of agriculture and GDP is 3.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
Sources say that better market prices and timely payments by sugar mills encouraged farmers to grow more crop.
Area sown for rice is estimated at 2,365,000 hectares, 17.9 percent less than last year (2,883,000 hectares).
Rice has a share of 4.4 percent in agriculture and 0.9 percent in GDP. Pakistan grows high quality rice to meet both domestic demand and exports.
Rice production is likely to decline by 26 percent to 5 million tons in 2010-11 from 6.8 million tons last year, said a market source.
Rice export from Pakistan would be 2.6 million tons in FY2010-11 as compared with 3.8 million tons in 2009-10.
Rice productivity in Pakistan increased from the 1960s to the 1990s. Since then, it has seen a fall of about one percent per year. Therefore, it could not keep up the pace with growing demand, Ahmad Jawad, CEO of Harvest Trading told The News.
Major reasons for fall in rice production were floods and low market prices last year. Floods attacked mostly paddy growing areas in Sindh.
Area and production target of wheat for 2010-11 had been set at 9,045,000 hectares and 25 million tons, respectively. Wheat was cultivated on 8,805,000 hectares, showing a decrease of 3.6 percent over last year’s area of 9,132,000 hectares. However, a bumper wheat crop of 24.2 million tons has been estimated with 3.9 percent increase over the last year’s crop of 23.3 million tons.
Production of wheat increased due to timely fertiliser use and rainfall during pre-harvesting period.
Wheat is the main staple food for most of the population and largest grain source of the country. It contributes 13.1 percent to the value-added sector of agriculture and 2.7 percent to GDP.

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