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Wheat output to reach 26.04M tons 

ISLAMABAD: Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) on Thursday was informed that domestic wheat production recorded about 1.7 percent growth as total output during the season was estimated at 26.04 million tons as compared the production of same period of last year.

The FCA, which met with Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research in chair reviewed the output of all major and minor crops of Rabi Season 2020-21 and fixed targets for Kharif Crops in order ensure food security in the country.

Besides senior officers of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the meeting was also attended by the provincial agriculture departments, State Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL, National Fertilizer Development Company, Pakistan Meteorological Department, Indus River System Authority and Planning Commission of Pakistan.

The FCA held detailed deliberations on production targets of Kharif crops 2021-22 and decided to fix cotton production targets at 10.5 million bales by cultivating the crop over an area of 2.33 million hectare, whereas it fixed 8.2 million tons production target for rice over 3.07 million hectare of land.

The committee also fixed production targets for other crops such as maize, mung, mash and chilies, were as it fixed sugarcane production target for 2021-22 74.84 million tons over an area of 1.18 million hectares.

The committee also reviewed performance of Rabi crops and estimated wheat production at 26.04 million tons from an area of 9.191 million hectares.

The wheat sowing during the season had witnessed 1,7 percent increase as compared the production of last year.

The FCA was informed that the potato production during the season has been estimated at 5742.7 thousand tons as crop was grown an area of 226.1 thousand hectares. The potato output increased by 829.7 percent as compared the production of last year.

The committee also discussed the production achievements of other essential crops like gram, lentil, onion and tomato.
Pondering over the availability of agricultural inputs for Kharif crops 2021-22, the committee was informed that expected shortfall will be 16 percent. For the year 2021-22, the water availability in canals head will remain 67.60 million acres feet (MAF) anticipated for Kharif 2021 (April-Sept) as against last year which was 65.233 MAF.At present all the provinces are getting their satisfactory supplies in the system.
Meteorological department informed that keeping in view the climate projections rainfall will remain normal to slightly above normal across the country. The gradual rise in temperature will accelerate snow melt in the Northern areas and subsequent increase in runoff of in upper Indus region.
Low rains may cause water stress for the standing crops especially in the rain fed belt. There were chances of isolated lightening, thunder along with gusty winds/hails/showers over the plains and sub-mountainous areas.
The meeting was infored that fewer rains and seasonal rise in air temperatures may intensify the ongoing drought conditions over South-Western Baluchistan and Tharparker region of Sindh. Accordingly, judicious use of available water stock is recommended.
The Committee was informed that the availability of rice and maize seed will remain as per requirement. Despite prevailing Covid-19 situation, the agricultural credit disbursement made by lending institutions is gradually picking-up the pace.
During July 2020 to February 2021, the agriculture lending institutions have disbursed Rs.806.4 billion which was 53.8 percent the overall annual target and 2.9 percent higher than the disbursement of Rs.783.8 billion made during the same period last year. Further, the outstanding portfolio of agriculture loans has increased by Rs30.2 billion from Rs565.6 billion to Rs595.8 billion, by the end February 2021 as compared to same period last year.
In terms of outreach 3.5 million borrowers have been benefited as of end February 2021. Currently, 50 agriculture lending institutions including five major commercial banks, two specialized banks (ZTBL & PPCBL), five Islamic banks, 11 Microfinance banks and 13 Microfinance institutions and Rural Support Programs were providing agriculture loans to farming community.
The FCA appreciated the positive impact of fertilizer subsidy scheme which contributed to high yield and noted that the supply of Urea and DAP fertilizers was satisfactory during Rabi Season 2020-21 Rabi Due to local production and available stocks, the supply position of Urea will remain comfortable during Kharif. Availability of DAP will also remain satisfactory because of smooth inputs.
However, the prices of DAP are Rs.5400/- per 50 Kg bag as compared to previous season due to increasing trend in international market as many manufacturing plants were shut by impact of Covid-19.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.