ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will miss the wheat production target by 1.4 million tons in the Rabi season, mainly due to water shortages across the country. The production will be 23.67 million tons.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Minfa) has finalised a report that will be presented to the high-level Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA), which will meet next week.
The wheat crop position, its harvest and procurement will be discussed at the meeting, besides finalising targets for the Kharif crop.
The FCA meeting will be presided over by Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal and attended by ministers and senior officials from all the four provinces and the AJK.
The Minfa report said the wheat production in the country would be 23.675 million tons against the ambitious target of 25 million tons. It said the gap was due to a drop of 0.22 per cent in cultivation area as compared to last year. Farmers planted wheat at 9.026 million hectares during Rabi 2010 compared to the target of 9.045 million hectares.
The decline in cultivation area has been recorded at 10.02 per cent in Balochistan and 3.12 per cent in the NWFP due to water shortage, whereas the cultivation area in Punjab improved by 0.88 per cent to 6.894 million hectares.
The cultivation area in Sindh was 1.020 million hectares, which was equal to last year’s figure.
Officials of the ministry said that in the early months of Rabi season farmers faced scarcity of water, but higher wheat purchase price and better liquidity position encouraged farmers in Punjab and Sindh to cultivate wheat.
Due to declining prices and higher cash available in the rural sector the use of fertiliser like DAP (Phosphate) and Urea (Nitrogen) from October to January increased by 15 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, compared to last year.
The use of certified wheat seed was 190,000 tons compared to 180,000 tons last year, while provincial agriculture departments facilitated farmers in grading the farm saved seed. In Punjab the use of graded seed was increased by 22 per cent to 84,243 tons.
Agriculture credits also played an important role in higher sowing in Rabi 2009-10 despite water shortages.
Banks disbursed Rs106.26 billion during July-December, 2009-10, compared to Rs99.45 billion in the same period last fiscal year.
The Federal Committee on Agriculture will also discuss production targets for rice and cotton, the key Kharif crops.
For the upcoming Kharif season, the ministry of food and agriculture has estimated that Urea consumption would be 3.14 million tons against the 309 million tons of Kharif 2009. The di-ammonium phosphate offtake is expected to increase by 3.8 per cent over the last Kharif season.