ISLAMABAD: Farms in Punjab and Sindh provinces have almost completed the current year’s wheat sowing campaign but crop planting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan has been lagging as these two provinces received scant rainfall.
A meeting of wheat review committee to assess the crop sowing position of 2021-2022 season on Friday observed that availability of water, high urea prices are major challenges being faced by the farmers during cultivation of key crop.
Syed Fakhar Imam, minister for National Food Security and Research, chaired the committee meeting. Provincial counterparts and senior officials also attended the meeting to monitor the ongoing sowing of wheat crop in the country.
The government with the consultation of provincial governments had fixed the wheat production target at 28.89 million tons for 2021-22 against last year’s production of 27.5 million tons.
Wheat crop in Pakistan contributes 1.8 percent to the country’s GDP and accounts for 9.2 percent of the value-added in agriculture sector.
“The sowing period is the most critical period for a wheat crop and any issues arising should be catered to timely in order to stay on track,” minister Imam said.
He added that previously wheat review committee held twice a year but “now due to extraordinary focus of the current government on agriculture, regular monitoring is being done through weekly meetings”.
Punjab agriculture official said the province will achieve its sowing target, “as it stands at 99 percent (or 16.575 million acres) sowing against the revised target of 16.67 million acres”.
He said water availability is an on-going limiting factor but the Punjab government is working on improving its track and trace system for seeds.
The official further said the provincial government conducted numerous seminars to create awareness in addition with partnering with five agricultural universities of Punjab to mobilize 3,000 agricultural students in ensuring proper sowing of wheat seeds.
Agriculture official from Sindh said the province stands at 98 percent of the assigned wheat sowing target of 2.99 million acres.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stands at 85 percent of the assigned target area at 1.89 million acres. Similarly, Balochistan stands at 80 percent of the assigned target area at 1.1 million acres.
Officials from KP and Balochistan pointed out the meeting that less rainfall may adversely affect the overall sowing area in both the provinces.
It was a general consensus in the meeting that certified seed was adequately available.
However, high prices and unavailability of urea was considered an on-going challenge. The meeting observed that the high price of DAP has also resulted in its overall lower usage.
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