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ISLAMABAD: The prevailing dry weather may negatively affect wheat crop in upper Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, if such conditions continue for a longer period of time.

Senior officials of Ministry of National Food Security and Research told Business Recorder that wheat crop was now at maturity stage in upper Punjab and KP and increase in temperature would badly affect grain formation. The current weather will not affect wheat crop in Sindh and Southern Punjab as harvesting of the crop has started in those areas, he said, adding that so far only 20 to 25 percent harvesting had been completed in Sindh and in some parts of Punjab.

Harvesting of wheat crop is almost completed in lower Sindh and begun in the eastern parts of central Sindh, whereas crop is near maturity in the eastern parts of Punjab i.e. Rahimyar Khan, Khanpur and Bahawalpur and eastern Balochistan. It is expected that harvesting will start after 15th April in those areas. In KP harvesting will start in the first week of May.

According to provincial government reports, shared during the recent Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) meeting, wheat production for 2021-22 is estimated at 26.8 million tons from an area of 8.99 million hectares, against the set target of 28.9 million from an area of 9.2 million hectares, showing a decrease of 2.5 percent in production over last year.

According to weather advisory issued by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) hot and dry weather will continue for the next few days. Prevailing long dry spell may cause water stress on water reservoirs, standing crops, vegetables and orchards. Farmers are advised to manage crop water accordingly, it says.

The PMD has advised farmers for early harvesting of wheat crop. The weather outlook for the month April released by PMD predicts below normal precipitation over most parts of the country. Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh are expected to receive slightly below normal precipitation during the forecast month, it says.

It further stated that below normal precipitation is predicted over central and upper parts of KP and Azad Jammu and Kashmir whereas nearly normal precipitation is expected over most parts of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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