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Punjab unlikely to meet enhanced wheat target

January 28, 2022
Punjab unlikely to meet enhanced wheat target

ISLAMABAD: Punjab province might achieve its previous wheat sowing target, but was unlikely to meet enhanced one, owing to factors like low supply and high cost of chemical inputs, officials said on Thursday.

Punjab Agriculture Department officials revealed this during a Wheat Review Committee meeting chaired by Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research.

Representatives of all provinces attended the meeting. Fehmida Mirza, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination was also present on the occasion.

On the other hand, according to agriculture officials of KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Balochistan, and Sindh has achieved their sowing targets.

All provinces stated the assigned production targets would be met; however, concern was shown over the DAP and urea availability and prices.

The meeting was in general consensus that certified seed was adequately available. Officials informed the meeting that 30 percent drought- and disease-tolerant seed had been used this time, which would positively contribute towards wheat production.

However, high prices and unavailability of urea was considered an on-going challenge. The meeting was briefed that the high price of DAP has also resulted in its overall lower usage.

Secretary Agriculture Punjab proposed revision of minimum support price (MSP) of wheat to assist the achievement of procurement target.

Punjab’s proposed procurement target stands at 3.5 million tonnes, KPK, and Balochistan at 100,000 tonnes.

Whereas, Sindh’s procurement target, estimated to be around 1.2-1.4 million tonnes, would be finalised by the Sindh Cabinet.

Met Department informed the meeting they had forecast that during February a below normal, whereas in March an above normal rainfall spell, especially in the Central Punjab, was likely.

Moreover, IRSA officials told the meeting that irrigation water shortage which was estimated at 28 percent at the sowing time had now improved because of recent rains.

The shortfall for the current Rabi season has been calculated at 20 percent, according to IRSA.

Imam said a few parameters had been established to ensure wheat crop sowing was monitored effectively.

The federal minister said these parameters included but were not limited to wheat sowing area and completion percentage of the assigned target, sowing method (drilling or broadcasting), quantum of fertiliser (DAP and urea) used during sowing practices, fertiliser offtake, certified seeds used, seed varieties used (old or new rust tolerant wheat varieties), availability status of herbicides and fertiliser, pricing status etc.

Imam said the purpose of the meeting was to ensure progress is monitored in order to ensure assigned wheat crop targets were met.

He said wheat was the most important crop and any issues arising should be catered to timely in order to stay on track.

Imam told the participants that necessary steps would be immediately taken to ensure factors of production were available in ample supply.