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October 23, 2020

Govt fixes wheat production-target at 26.78m ton 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 ton 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.

The committee also reviewed the performance of Kharif (summer) crops for 2019-20 including sugarcane, cotton, rice, maize and moong.

Cotton production was estimated at 8.443 million bales against 9.149 million bales last year, showing a decline of 7.7 percent. Comparing with the target of 15 million bales, it was more than 43 percent low.

The sugarcane production was estimated at 75.646 million ton against 66.379 million ton last year, depicting an increase of 14 percent. The target for cane production was 68.58 million ton.

Rice crop production was estimated at 8.184 million ton compared to 7.414 million ton, showing an increase of 10.4 percent over the target. Its target was 7.433 million ton.

Maize production was estimated at 7.858 million ton against 7.883 million tons last year, depicting decline of 0.3 percent. Moong production was estimated at 208,600 ton against 132,800 ton last year showing an increase of 57 percent. Mash production declined by 12.8 percent to 5,700 ton against the 6,600 tons last year.

Seed availability for Rabi crops was also discussed at the meeting. For Rabi 2020-21, IRSA Advisory Committee is anticipating water shortfall of 10percent. During the Rabi season, provinces are allocated 33.09 maf water. Prevailing weather conditions are supportive and shortage is manageable.

The Metrological Department informed that above normal rainfall, overall 41 percent, was reported across the country in July to September, 2020. Sindh received 100 percent more rains, whereas, Balochistan received 74percent, Punjab 16 percent, KP 8 percent and GB got 36percent above normal rains, while AJK got 14percent below normal.

(Earlier report on Business Page I)