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ISLAMABAD: The prevailing dry weather in the country may negatively affect wheat and gram crop production mainly in rain-fed (barani) areas of the country.

A senior official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) said that the current weather conditions may have adverse effects on the production of wheat crop in rain-fed areas in particular and irrigated areas of the country in general. Currently wheat crop is at the tiller and shoot stage and needs water, he said.

“If the current dry weather in the country persists for another 15 days it would have a negative impact on the production of wheat and gram crops in rain-fed areas,” he averred adding that earlier we expected bumper gram crop but due to prevailing dry weather, the country may not produce bumper gram crop as gram is grown in rain-fed areas.

He said that the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) in October 2023 had fixed wheat production target at 32.2 million tons for the Rabi Season 2023-2024 from an area of 8.9 million hectares of land. The committee also fixed the production targets for other Rabi crops including grams at 4.1 million tons, potato at 60,330 thousand tons, onions at 2,494 thousand tons, and tomato at 666 thousand tons.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s weather outlook for the month of January, mean temperatures are expected to remain above normal nationwide. Mainly dry conditions are expected over the country for the forecast month, it maintained, adding that warmer daytime temperatures and colder nighttime temperatures are expected in upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, adjoining areas of Kashmir, and the Potohar region.

The report further projected thick fog likely to persist in the plains of Punjab and upper Sindh in January 2024.

The weather report further said that in the next 24 hours, mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country, while very cold weather is expected in northern parts and north Balochistan. Dense fog/smog is likely to persist in plain areas of Punjab. Fog/smog is also likely in plain areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and upper Sindh during morning and night hours, it stated.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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KU Jan 02, 2024 01:00pm
The official version is a tale as usual because wheat is not grown on large scale in rain fed areas or ''barani'' areas, probably a pre-emptive story on expected low wheat yields due to its less cultivation in irrigated areas because high costs of production has made farmers switch to other crops for domestic use. Actually, during the last 7 years, rain fed areas have been affected by change in weather patterns and rains, and grams, peanuts and pulses growing areas have been devastated, and in the absence of affordable irrigation technology and solar energy, the farmers are faring much worse than is reported or acknowledged officially.
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