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April 1, 2020

‘Wheat output target unlikely’

Business

April 1, 2020

KARACHI: The country’s economy faces a grim scenario, as the government is unlikely to achieve the wheat production target of 27.03 million tons this year, an official said on Tuesday.

In a statement, Secretary General (Federal) of the Businessmen Panel for FPCCI, Ahmad Jawad, said that the target was likely to be missed mainly because of heavy spells of rain in Punjab. “The damages to the wheat crop would have devastating effects on the economy of the country,” he added.

According to the working paper of the Federal Committee on Agriculture, 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 one million tons. Wheat and mustard crops were damaged by heavy rains, especially in South Punjab and Potohar area of the Punjab province, Jawad said.

The government should conduct a complete survey of the affected areas on a priority basis so that the Punjab government should announce relief to the farming community. Similarly, he said, the State Bank of Pakistan may direct the Zarai Taraqiati Bank and Bank of Punjab to waive the loan interest for the wheat farmers at this emergency period.

The agriculture sector may already face setback from the slowdown in exports of Pakistan's textile sector due to COVID-19. The local and international demand of cotton is set to weaken, which in turn, will also have negative repercussions for changes in crop patterns too.