LAHORE – Pakistan’s annual paddy production is likely to touch nine million tonne in next two to three years with predicted increase of 25 per cent sowing area of hybrid rice.
Shehzad Ali Malik, the former president of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said this during an interaction with Agriculture Journalists Association at his office on Wednesday.
The AJA delegation led by president Sudhir Ch met him to discuss the future of hybrid rice cultivation in Pakistan and cooperation with China in this field.
“The current paddy production is 6.9 million tonne per year which will touch nine million tonne in next three years as farmers’ interest is increasing in sowing of hybrid rice,” Shehzad said.
While the modern hybrid rice varieties are already being sown over 1.5 million acres of land in Sindh, the seed is all set to be commercially launched in different districts of southern Punjab in upcoming season. Since the hybrid rice average yield is more than 100 maund per acre, the cultivation if adopted in Punjab could make a considerable increase in annual rice production of the country.
Shehzad was of the view that Iran can become a major market of Pakistani rice consumption in coming years. As the country’s current per year export to Iran is around 150,000 tonne, he said the export can be increase at one million tonne.
To avoid the complications, he suggested the bilateral trade of rice and other products with Tehran could be dealt in Chinese currency instead of US dollar.
He also floated the idea to provide on lease land to Chinese and Pakistani companies for different crops seed research. He said the government must include the agriculture sector projects in next phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.