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LAHORE: Punjab produced record rice production of 5.766 million tons, both basmati and non-basmati, for the year 2021-22 against a target of 4.480 million tons besides registering an increase of 1.9 percent in per acre yield as compared to the previous year.

Final figures tabulated by the Crop Reporting Survey (CRS) of the provincial agriculture department revealed that the province recorded 6.7 percent increase in area brought under rice as it was sown over an area of 6.314 million acres as compared to 5.917 million acres of 2020-21.

Target of sowing was fixed by the provincial government as 5 million acres with production target set at 4.480 million acres thus showing 8.8 percent increase in production as compared to last year, 6.7 percent increase in area under rice crop and 1.9 percent increase in yield per acre as compared to the year 2020-21.

Director Crop Reporting Survey Dr Abdul Qayyum talking to Business Recorder said that average per acre yield remained around 22.83 maund per acre during the current season as compared to 22.40 maund per acre of the year 2020-21.

However, he admitted that basmati per acre yield remained 4.3 percent less than the previous year. He said that 70-75 percent basmati rice is sown in Punjab while rest is other varieties. He said that hybrid of coarse varieties are being sown in different parts of the province due to higher yield and a separate survey is being conducted that how much area had been brought under hybrid varieties for rice production.

When asked about the trend of having two rice crops in one season, Dr Abdul Qayyum said that it is happening in basmati area where some growers take coarse variety crop first and then go for basmati. However, he said this trend is very negligible right now. Taking two rice crops also delays wheat sowing which might hurt their wheat production, he added.

The Crop Reporting Survey (CRS) official said that this year paddy prices are also stable thus ensuring good return to rice growers. Usman Butt, a trader in Akbari Mandi, while talking to Business Recorder said that prices of one year old basmati rice shot up prior to arrival of the fresh crop.

“Rice which was available from Rs 105 per kilograms shot up to Rs 125 per kilogram while new basmati variety which has reached markets is being sold at Rs 115 per kilograms. Similarly, Kainat rice is being sold at Rs 125 to 135 per kilograms,” he added.

It may be added here that Pakistan is earning huge sum of over US two billion dollars per annum from export of basmati and non-basmati rice. According to a rice trade expert, Hamid Malik, rice export during July to October 2021 crossed one million tons mark as compared to the corresponding period, showing an increase of 22.6 percent.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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