ISLAMABAD – The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has fixed the next year production target for wheat at 26.46 million tons on an area of 8.95 million hectares.
The meeting, which was presided over by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, was informed that sugarcane production for 2017-18 had been estimated at 81.4 million tons from an area of 1.312 million hectares. The rice production for 2017-18 was estimated at 7.3 million tons from an area of 2.88 million hectares. The maize production for 2017-18 was estimated at 5.3 million tons from an area of 1.24 million hectares. It was noted that the country achieved self-sufficiency, rather exportable surplus in major crops by surpassing the targets both in terms of area under cultivation and production. The meeting was called to review the Kharif crops and production plan for Rabi (2017-18).
In order to benefit from available export avenues for potato it was agreed to fix the production target at 3.81 million tons from an area of 0.17 million hectares. Meteorological department informed that monsoon rains from July to September 2017 remain 25 percent below average in the country. Monsoon rains stopped in August and September was dried. It said that 10-15 percent less rain will be expected than the average during October to December, 2017, whereas two to three spells of moderate rainfall are likely in KPK, AJK, GB and North Punjab.
Keeping in view the expected reduced rainfall, the Irsa Advisory Committee anticipated short fall of 20 percent in availability of water in 2017-18. The said shortfall will be passed on to Punjab and Sindh which are major user of water while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will remain exempted from adverse effects of shortages. During the ensuing Rabi season, provinces will be allocated 29.5 MAF of water whereas last year it was 29.7 MAF. It was further anticipated that prevailing weather conditions are not promising and shortage may extend to 25 percent. However, position will be reviewed in the first week of November 2017. It was further informed that shortage will be managed accordingly.
The committee was informed that the availability of wheat and maize seed would be 35.49 percent and 58 percent, respectively, of the total seed requirements. The representative from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) informed that allocations of institutional credit for agriculture had substantially increased to Rs1001 billion for 2017-18. During the July-August the agricultural lending institutions have disbursed agri loans of Rs97.6 billion which is 9-7 percent of annual target of Rs1001 billion. The chairman emphasized enhanced financial support to small provinces and efficient utilisation of the available credit portfolio.
The FCA also noted that the supply of urea and DAP fertilisers was satisfactory for 2017-18 Kharif season. The supply of urea will remain comfortable during Rabi season 2017-18 due to enhanced local production and sufficient stock position. However, availability of DAP may witness slight deficiency for the reason of low local production and import by private sector.
The ministry was directed to make pre-emptive measures for ensuring sufficient availability of all requisite fertilisers at reasonable prices. The committee reiterated its advice to PARC and provincial research system for proactive role in variety development and crop diversification, and availability of improved seed.
Courtesy The Nation