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October 23, 2020

Govt fixes wheat production target at 26.78 million tons for Rabi season

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October 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Amid Indus River System Authority (IRSA) anticipating 10 percent shortage of water for irrigation in coming months, the government on Thursday fixed wheat production target at 26.78 million tons for the Rabi (winter) season 2020-21, and decided to provide all out support to agriculture sector, including subsidised fertilisers, pesticides and concessional lending to farmers.

The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA), which met here with Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam in chair, fixed wheat production target at 26.78 million ton from 9.16 million hectares area. Last year, wheat production stood at 25.25 million ton against the target of 27.03 million ton.

Fakhar Imam said the prime minister is giving priority to agriculture. He said acquisition of modern agriculture technology, supply of better seeds and balanced use of fertilisers can achieve higher yields. “Our livestock sector is better. Our production is better in paddy and sugarcane, while cotton production is declining due to ball warm and white fly,” he said.

The minister added that now Punjab Seed Corporation is giving only 3 to 5 percent seeds. The minimum support price of wheat will be decided next week and fertiliser will be subsidised. “We are in dire need of increasing wheat production,” he added.

The FCA is a high powered committee which meets twice a year ahead of either of the seasons to fix and review the crop targets. The committee reviewed the estimates for Kharif crops and fixed targets for Rabi season 2020/21. In Pakistan, Kharif cropping season starts from April 01 and end on September 31 and crops in the season include sugarcane, cotton, maize and rice, while Rabi season starts on October 01 and ends on March 31 and its crops are wheat, barley, gram, lentils, potato, onion, tomato etc.

Two major agricultural crops producing provinces -- Punjab and Sindh -- will face the brunt of low availability of irrigation water, but the government officials are satisfied, saying this will not affect the crops production. According to the working paper of FCA meeting, out of 26.78 million tons of wheat production target for Rabi season, Punjab will produce 20 million ton, Sindh 3.95 million ton, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1.6 million ton and Balochistan 1.22 million ton. Other crops targets were fixed too including gram at 560,000 ton, lentil 8,900 ton, potato 4.87 million ton, onion 2.22 million ton and tomato 625,000 tons.

(Earlier report on Business Page I)