ISLAMABAD: Wheat crop out in the country during current season was estimated at 25.413 million tons as against the set target of 26.463 million tons showing 4 percent reduction and about 2 percent decrease in crop sowing during the season.
The decrease in the sowing area and wheat production was attributed to long prevailing dry spell as well as below normal average rain fall during the crop season, said Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan.
Addressing a press conference after chairing the meeting of the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) will meet here to review the Rabi crops production and fix the targets for Kharif for the crop season 2018-19, he said that there was about one million tons of carry forward grain stocks with PASSCO and it was expected to that the wheat stock of over 26 million tons would be available for domestic consumption as well as to exports.
The minister said that gram pulse production was estimated at 375.6 thousand tons as compared the set production targets of 617.5 thousand tons, where as lentil output was estimated at 6.6 thousand tons as against the fixed targets of 10.1 thousand tons.
However, bumper crops of potatoes, tomatoes and onion were achieved during the season as about 4256.1 thousand tons of potatoes produced as against the set target of 3807.6 thousand tons showing an increase of 12 percent.
Meanwhile onion production also grew by 1.6 percent as it was recorded at 1910.3 thousand tons as against the fixed targets of 1880.5 thousand tons, adding that 494 .9 million tons tomatoes output were achieved against the set target of 488.6 million tons, hence showing growth of 1.3 percent in its production.
The minister informed that country was currently surplus in all major crops including wheat, rice, maize and minor crops including potatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes and the exportable surplus were also exported to other countries.
He informed that ban on the import of tomato had provided a net benefit of Rs one billion to local farmers, where as 2 million tons of potatoes were exported and 80 thousand tons to onions were exported during the crop season.
Sikandar Bosan said that federal government in consultation with the provincial governments have fixed cotton production targets at 14 million bales, sugarcane at 68.157 million tons and maize at 53.01 million tons respectively.
The minister further informed that government would spent US$ 1.2 billion to promote pulses production in the country and 1000 tons of hybrid seed of different pulses would be provided to farmers.
The minister further informed that due to bellow normal rains prediction during first quarter of the crop sowing season would remain under water stress and may face about 33 percent water shortage for irrigation, adding that in second quarter the situation would be improved and the shortage is likely to reduce to 11 percent.