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Higher wheat output target fixed amid water woes

By Amin Ahmed 2021-10-08
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) on Thursday fixed wheat target at 28.9 million tonnes from a sowing area of 9.2 million hectares for the rabi season 2021-22, an increase of 1.4 million tonnes over last year`s production.

Punjab will be producing 21.94 million tonnes, almost 75 per cent of the total wheat target, followed by 4,200,000 tonnes by Sindh, 1,525,000 tonnes by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1,215,000 tonnes by Balochistan.

The high-powered committee, chaired by Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, also set targets for other major rabi crops including gram and potatoes. The committee also fixed production targets for gram at 559,000 tonnes, potato 6,028,000 tonnes, tomato 2,421,000 and chillies 621,000 tonnes.

The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) Advisory Committee has anticipated a shortfall of 28 per cent irrigation water during the upcoming rabi season. Provinces have been allocated 26.91 million acre feet (MAF) of water. However, the prevailing weather conditions are supportive and shortage may be manageable, the FCA was informed.

Pakistan Meterological Department informed the meeting that rainfall, for the country as a whole, for the monsoon season 2021 was close to climatic normal. On a regional scale, it remained above normal over Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and below normal over AJK, Punjab and Sindh.

Consequently, water stress may be observed for rabi crops due todeficientrains,particularlyinrain-fed areas.Weather, outlook for the period of October to December 2021 suggests that amount of rainfall will be below normal in agricultural plains of all the provinces.

The committee was informed that cotton production for 2021-22 is estimated at 9.37 million bales from 1.9 million hectares, showing an increase of 19.8pc over the last year.Punjab Minister for Agriculture, Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi and AJK Agriculture Minister Sardar Mir Akbar as well as PASSCO and other stakeholders attended the meeting.