April 14, 2013
ABDUL RASHEED AZAD
The production of major Kharif crops is likely to decline due to shortage of water, non-availability of electricity, expensive fertilisers, diesel and manifold increase in the prices of other inputs like tractors, pesticides and farm machinery in the country.
According to senior officials of the Ministry of Food Security and Research Pakistan, the country cultivate important crops like paddy, cotton, sugarcane, maize, fodder and pulses during the summer season. The country is to miss the area under crop cultivation target of rice and cotton due to high input costs especially high urea prices, shortage of water and prolonged power load shedding, which in rural areas peaked at nearly 20 hours a day. Farmers are likely to bring up to eight million acres of land under cotton cultivation, but it should be around 8.5 to 9 million acres to get 15 to 16 million bales produce. Rice is among top cash crops of the country, ideally the crop should be sown on six and half million acres, but due to high input cost, area under paddy cultivation is likely to remain six million acres which, official maintained.
“Two-three bags of urea are used per acre of land. If the quantity of fertiliser used is reduced by just 10 percent, the overall productivity per acre declines by about four to five percent”, he added. Besides, prices of other inputs the seed prices have also increased manifold during the past four years, which had made it impossible for the small framers to use approved varieties of seeds.
He said central Punjab was major hub of paddy production which at present was facing more serious power outages and water shortages relative to other parts of the country so crop production in those areas was expected to decline by 10 percent. “The country at present is facing unprecedented power load shedding and in hilly areas ice has still not melted due to which farmers are unable to cultivate paddy crop on time. Sugarcane crop also requires water in huge quantities, but in this season there is no sufficient water in canals so it is expected that production of these crops may significantly drop as well,” said a senior official of the Ministry requesting anonymity.
Another major factor is expensive fertilisers, which has witnessed a 100 percent increase in price during the past four years and small farmers are unable to afford to give the required quantity of urea to their fields. In 2010 a 50-kg urea bag was available at around Rs 1,100 which at present costs Rs 18,000; moreover due to gas shortage in the country four major urea plants are closed and the country is forced to import urea, which is expensive and small farmers have no ability to purchase expensive fertiliser as a result output of cotton and paddy would remain below the target.
The official said that cotton crop was sown on an area of 2.834 million hectares in 2011-12 as compared to 2.689 million hectares in 2010-11, showing an increase in sowing area by 5.4 percent. Cotton production was recorded at 13.595 million bales in 2011-12 as compared with 11.469 million bales in 2010-11, projecting an increase of 18.6 percent.
He said that paddy was sown on an area of 2.571 million hectares in 2011-12 as compared with 2.365 million hectares in 2010-11, showing an increase in sowing area of 8.7 percent. Sugarcane was sown on an area of 1.046 million hectares in 2011-12 as against 989.7 hectares in 2010-11, showing an increase in sowing area by 5.9 percent.
Giving details of the other Kharif crops, the official said Pakistan was producing about 3.25 to 3.5 million tons of maize per annum but production this year was likely to remain around three million tons, Mung production would remain at 130,000 tons against estimated target of 160,000 tons, chillies production would be 150,000 tons, potato production 2.9 million tons against the requirement of 1.7 million tons. Source
Published: Zarai Media Team