Torrential rains hit standing wheat crops

April 23, 2013

RIZWAN BHATI

Wheat Crops
Wheat Crops

Recent spells of torrential rains have directly hit standing wheat crop, resulting in production losses and growers have stopped harvesting process in rain affected areas. Sources in agricultural sector told Business Recorder on Monday that several wheat cultivation areas in Punjab and Sindh have received torrential downpour coupled with hails and thunderstorm, resulting in serious production losses as the wheat crop in major parts of the country is in final stage and ready for harvesting.

Rain and thunderstorm occurred at scattered places of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan, while isolated in Punjab, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The Met Office in its forecast had already indicated that there are more chances of thunderstorm/rain in next 24 hours. In addition, it has also asked growers to stop harvesting their crops during rains to avoid production loss.

Although so far production losses have not been calculated by experts but the major damage is being expected in two provinces, ie, Sindh and Punjab. Rain and thunderstorm occurred at scattered places of Sindh – Khipro, Sanghar, Umerkot, Islamkot, Digree, Kot Ghulam Muhammad, Mirpurkhas, Sultanabad, Tando Alayar, Gharo and Ratnabad – where wheat crop was ready for harvesting.

Sources said ongoing rains have also disturbed the harvesting process and after heavy rains growers have stopped harvesting in the rain affected parts of the country, they said and added that now the farmers/growers are waiting for dry weather and drainage of water from fields.

“As per initial reports some 0.2-0.3 million tons of crop losses are being estimated in Sindh, where harvesting was on its peak when heavy rains hit the crop in scattered areas,” said Ibrahim Mughal, Chairman Pakistan Agri Forum. Not only rains, thunderstorm are also making losses to the wheat crop in Punjab and Sindh, he added. Presently, wheat crop is facing three types of losses, he said and added that “rains will delayed the harvesting of standing wheat crop followed by 10 percent post harvesting losses, which normally stands at 5 percent.”

Secondly, problems in the mechanical harvesting of wheat crop in the fields, where rain water has accumulated. “Thirdly, the crop quality is being affected and grains will be discoloured,” he added. He said as per initial reports damage has occurred in scattered places of Sindh and Punjab, where wheat crop was ready and harvesting was continuing. “Wheat sowing was already less than target this year due to delay in the announcement of support price by the government and now rains have created further difficulties for the standing wheat crop. Therefore, it is too difficult to achieve wheat production target of 25 million tons set by the federal government for 2012-2013,” he said.

He urged the government to take steps for quick procurement of wheat from growers as the delay will cause losses to government as well as farmers. “This year we have limited stocks of carryover stocks and the country may face crisis like situation if procurement is not completed in time. Source Business Recorder

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