First winter rain gives boost to rabbi crops
By: M RAFIQUE GORAYA
LAHORE (December 31, 2010) : The widespread two-day rains in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa have given boost to wheat, lintels, grams, oil seeds, fodder , vegetables and maize crops, agriculture experts told Business Recorder here on Thursday. Director General Agriculture Extension Services, Dr Anjum Ali said that the two provinces have got exactly what they needed most, ie rain at a time when irrigation canals have been closed for the month long annual repairs and desilting programme.
He said winter crops have been sown over 22 million acres of land in Punjab out of which wheat is sown on 16.7 million acres. He said the crops sown in Barani (rain fed) areas of Rawalpindi division needed water urgently. The first winter rain has provided adequate water to these crops for sustenance and growth, he added. The Barani areas contribute more than 15 percent of total agriculture produce of the province.
He said this rain is also useful for sowing of sunflower over an area of 0.125 million acres in early January besides foggy conditions prevailing in plains of Punjab, KP and upper Sindh would also subside for the time being.
Meanwhile, Punjab Irrigation department has decided to keep irrigation canals of south Punjab running till 15th January to provide first watering to Rabbi crops in the region. Punjab irrigation consultant and canal regulator M H Siddiqui told this scribe that the department is releasing 23,000 cusecs water in Thal canal, Muzaffargarh canal, D G Khan, Haveli canal, Sidhnai canal, Bahawalpur canal and Panjnad canal keeping in view needs of their command areas. He said Punjab is withdrawing 10,000 cusecs water from Mangla dam, 6000 cusecs from the Chenab river and 8,000 cusecs water from the Indus zone.