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October 11, 2019

Govt fixes wheat production target at 27.03m tons for 2019/20


October 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Amid Indus River System Authority (IRSA) anticipating 15 percent shortage of water for irrigation in months to come, the government on Thursday set wheat production target at 27.03 million tons for the Rabi (winter) year 2019/20, however the worry is there that whether the government will be able to procure from the farmers while having huge quantity in stocks.

The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) which met here with Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mahboob Sultan in the chair fixed wheat production target at 27.03 million tons from an area of 9.16 million hectares. Last year, wheat production stood at 25.194 million tons.

The FCA is a high powered committee that meets twice a year ahead of the seasons to fix and review the crop targets.

The committee reviewed the estimates for Kharif crops and fix targets for Rabi season 2017/18. In Pakistan, Kharif cropping season starts from April 1 and end on September 31 and crops in the season includes sugarcane, cotton, maize and rice, while Rabi season starts on October 1 and ends on March 31 and its crops are wheat, barley, gram, lentil, potatoes, onions, tomatoes etc.

These two major agricultural crops producing provinces including Punjab and Sindh will face the brunt of low availability of irrigation water that could adversely affect wheat and other crops production, but the government officials are satisfied saying this will not affect the crops production.

According to the working paper of FCA meeting out of 27.03 million tons, Punjab will produce 19.66 million tons, Sindh 3.8 million tons, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 2.57 million tons and Balochistan with one million tons.

Currently Pakistan has 7.07 million tons wheat stock. Out of it, Punjab has 4.43 million tons, Sindh 0.8 million tons, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.127 million tons, PASSCO 1.71 million ton while Balochistan did not procured.

Other crops targets were fixed too including gram at 225.5 thousand tons, lentil 8.7 thousand tons, potato 4.87 million tons, onion 2.11 million tons and tomatoes for Rabi only 600 thousand tons.

The committee also reviewed the performance of Kharif (summer crops) for 2018-19 including sugarcane, cotton, rice, maize, chillies and moong.

The sugarcane production was estimated at 64.77 million tons against the target of 68.7 million tons depicting a decline of 5.7 pc.

Cotton production is estimated at 10.2 million bales against the target of 14.37 million bales that show a decline of 29 pc. Rice crop was estimated at 7.7 million tons against target of 7.43 million tons, which show an increase of 3.62 pc over the target. Last year rice production was 7.2 million tons.

The Maize production for 2018-19 was estimated at 6.93 million tons against target of 1.386 million tons that depicts increase of 400 pc. Moong production estimated at 121.8 thousand tons against target of 185.6 thousand tons showing a decline of 28 pc. Mash production also declined by 50 pc to 6.8 thousand tons against the target of 13.7 thousand tons.

Chillies production increased by 59 pc to 42.5 thousand tons against the target of 26 thousand tons, tomatoes production also increased by almost 1344 pc to 122.1 thousand tons while the target was 8.5 thousand tons.

The meeting had participants from Provincial Agriculture Departments, State Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL, National Fertilizer Development Center (NFDC), Pakistan Meteorological Department, Indus River System Authority and senior officers of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research. Chairman PARC, DG NARC and heads of Ministry’s attached departments viz., Agri. Policy Institute, Federal Seed Certification & Registration Dept., Pakistan Oilseeds Development Board, Department of Plant Protection, Federal Water Management Cell and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) also participated in the meeting.

For Rabi 2019-20, IRSA Advisory Committee has anticipated a water shortfall of 15pc. During the Rabi season provinces are allocated 31.44 MAF of water. Prevailing weather conditions are supportive and shortage is manageable. IRSA has sensitized the FCA regarding wastage of water in country. The IRSA informed that our storage capacity in 1976 was 15.7 MAF against 13.7 MAF today despite Mangla raising from 1976 to date, we have annually lost 28.5 MAF D/S Kotri every year on an average.

The economic cost of one MAF of water in Pakistan is 0.5 billion US dollars. Thus from 1976 we have lost a resource into the sea unutilized worth over 600 billion dollars. He further explained that Pakistan had an annual GDP growth of over 6% from 1970 to 1990 because of reservoirs mainly Mangla & Tarbela. After 1976, India raised its storage potential up to 250 MAF and because of this, its GDP growth has been very healthy after 1990. If Pakistan wants to develop economically, it must construct new reservoirs of about 20 MAF, allowing 8.5 MAF downstream Kotri to cater for environmental flows, downstream Kotri and also to check seawater intrusion in the Indus delta.

Metrological Department informed that summer monsoon rains from July-September 2019 remained normal and well distributed all over the country. Significantly, above normal (46%) rainfall was observed in over Sindh province. On the other hand, Gilgit Baltistan, AJK and KPK received 24%, 22% and 14% slightly below normal rainfall. Due to rainfall received in late September and early October, sufficient amount of soil moisture is available for sowing of Rabi Crops.