Country to harvest 23.8m metric tons of wheat

Post Source: Dawn – By Staff Reporter – 13 Apr, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is estimated to harvest 23.87 million metric tons of wheat this year, against a target of 25 million tons, and a little less than last year’s 24.03 million tons. Addressing a news conference after a meeting of the federal committee on agriculture (FCA), Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal said the government had decided to export 2 million tons of the surplus commodity because of 3.5 million tons of carryover stocks.

He said the crop output had been satisfactory if seen in the context of a substantial water shortage during the season.

He said the committee had fixed cotton production target at 14 million bales for the current Kharif season, compared to last year’s output of 12.7 million bales.

Last year, too, the government had set a production target of 14 million bales. He said that this year eight approved varieties of BT-Cotton would be introduced in the country.

Mr Gondal said that most of the crops in the just concluded Rabi season had been short of target mainly because of inadequate rainfall.

The gram production has now been estimated at 571,000 tons against last year’s production of 740,000 tons, showing a decrease of 23 per cent.

The gram output, he said, was sufficient for domestic consumption estimated at 550,000 tons.

Lentil production has been estimated at 11,660 tons as compared to 14,400 tons produced last year, reflecting a reduction of 19 per cent.

Onion production stood at 1.53 million tons as against last year’s 1.7 million tons, down by 10 per cent.

Potato production was 2.4 per cent higher than last year’s and stood at 3.01 million tons compared to last year’s 2.94 million tons.

Mr Gondal said the good news for the ongoing Kharif season was that water availability would be around 65.80 million acre feet (MAF) against the average requirement of 67.11 MAF, thus showing a shortfall of about 2 per cent.

The committee set a rice production target of 6 million tons against last year’s production of 6.7 million tons while sugarcane target was set at 53.7 million tons against last year’s production of 47 million tons.

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