Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of chickpeas in the world and has a huge potential to export potatoes to the Middle East. This was revealed in the Punjab Food Outlook Report 2018 that was launched at a ceremony in Lahore today. Malik Nauman Ahmed Langrial, Minister of Agriculture government of Punjab launched the report.
This first of its kind report has been prepared in response to a request from Punjab government with the technical support provided by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) , following the lines of FAO’s Global Food Outlook.
Punjab produces 84% of gram or chickpeas, 77% of wheat and 95% of potato – three key Rabi crops of the country’s total production, according to the Punjab Food Outlook Report 2018. This report also provides forecast for cultivated area, yield and production levels for wheat, potato and gram across different agro-ecological zones of Punjab.
These three crops use around 80 percent of cropped area during the Rabi cropping season.
Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan, welcoming participants said: The Punjab Food Outlook Report provides timely and accurate data that will enable government, extension workers and small farmers to make informed and evidence based decisions by monitoring food supply, demand and other key indicators for assessing the overall food security situation. It will eventually help reduce poverty and improve food security and nutrition in Pakistan.”
The report will also help strengthen national capacities for managing and utilization of food security related information.
Malik Nauman Ahmed Langrial, Minister of Agriculture government of Punjab termed the report as the dawn of a new era for agriculture in Punjab and appreciated the efforts of FAO and IFPRI in the preparation of the report to help agriculture enter a new era of evidence based decision making.
According to the report, some of the key factors that have impacted wheat cultivation during the last decade include the prices of key inputs such as fertilizer, irrigation water availability and competition from other crops.
Raza Khan, advisor to the Punjab Agriculture department said that the publication will facilitate preventive actions by anticipating upcoming shocks and help set benchmarks by making an assessment of associated opportunities and risks. Stephen Davies, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI gave details of the report in his presentation.
FAO in close collaboration with the federal and provincial governments is providing technical support to Punjab Agriculture Department for initiatives including the preparation of Punjab Agro-Ecological Zones and a study on SMOG. FAO has extensive experience of producing the Global Food Outlook Reports, published in May/June and November/December every year.