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ISLAMABAD: Lower use of fertilisers due to increase in prices of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) coupled with unavailability of urea may trigger a drop in wheat production in the country.

An official said that provincial government representatives, while briefing wheat review committee meeting presided over by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said that the inflated prices of DAP and urea fertiliser resulted into lower usage of fertilisers, which will affect wheat crop 2021-2022.

He also said that representative of the Punjab government also informed the meeting that Punjab has not achieved the revise wheat sowing target of 16.7 million acre and achieved the previous target of 16.2 million acre.

However, the representatives of provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan informed the meeting that they have achieved their wheat sowing targets of 2.965 million acres, 2.224 million acres, and 1.359 million acres respectively.

The official said that the meeting was also attended by Fehmida Mirza, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination as well as top officials of the agriculture departments of all the provinces, officials of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R).

He said that the meeting was briefed that 30 percent drought and disease tolerant seed was cultivated, which would positively contribute towards wheat production.

Secretary Agriculture Punjab discussed revision of minimum support price (MSP) of wheat to support successful achievement of wheat procurement target.

Proposed procurement target of Punjab stands at 3.5 million tons, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan at 100,000 tons, while target of Sindh will be between 1.2-1.4 million tons, he said.

During the meeting, Imam said that the purpose of the meeting to ensure monitoring of progress in order to ensure that the assigned wheat crop targets are met.

He said that wheat is the most important crop and any issues arising should be catered to timely in order to stay on track.

The current government has put extraordinary focus on agriculture, regular monitoring is being done through weekly meetings, he said.

The officials of the PMD informed the meeting that during February below normal, whereas, in March, 2022 above normal rainfall spell, especially in the central Punjab, may occur.

Moreover, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) officials told the meeting that irrigation water shortage which was estimated at 28 percent at the sowing time of crop has now been improved due to recent spell of rainfall.

Now shortfall for the current Rabi season is calculated at 20 percent, they further said.

Imam said that few parameters have been established to ensure that wheat crop sowing is monitored effectively.

These parameters include but are not limited to wheat sowing area and completion percentage of the assigned target, sowing method (Drilling or Broadcasting), quantum of fertilizer used during sowing practices (DAP and Urea), fertilizer offtake (use), certified seeds used, seed varieties used during sowing (old or new rust tolerant wheat varieties), availability status of herbicides and fertilizer availability and pricing status, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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