February 16, 2014
FAZAL SHER & AAMIR SAEED
The recent rain spell is forecast to have a positive impact on overall agriculture production of major Rabi crops including wheat, grams, mustard and barley cultivated in different parts of the country. Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Wheat Commissioner at Ministry of National Food Security and Research told Business Recorder on Saturday that the recent spell of rain would help increase production of the Rabi crops.
“The recent rain will help get good production of wheat as the crop is passing through booting stage and requires a shower at this stage,” he said. He said the government had set 25 million tonnes of wheat target for Rabi season 2013-14 with Punjab forecast to produce nine million tonnes, Sindh 3.80 million tonnes, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1.35 million tonnes and 0.85 million tonne target is set for Balochistan.
Dr Aslam Gill, an agriculture expert, concurred and said recent rains had ended the prevailing dry spell and would bring positive impact on Rabi crops, particularly wheat and grams. It would create a positive impact on the germination of grains, he said. According to an official document, gram is the largest Rabi pulse crop, accounting for 78 percent of total production of pulses in the country and it occupies about five percent of the cropped area. Punjab produces more than 80 percent of over all grams in the country.
The projected gram target for 2013-14 is 0.760 million tonnes, of which Punjab will produce 695,000 tonnes, Sindh 19,000 tonnes, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 21,000 tonnes and Balochistan will produce 25,000 tonnes. Dr Ghulam Rasul, Chief Meteorologist at Pakistan Meteorological Department, said the recent spell of rain had helped recover soil moisture.
“The average temperature is recorded lower by 2-3 degree Celsius as compared to the last 30 years and it has helped lower soil evaporation,” he said. Rasul said crops of wheat and gram were using the soil moisture which would ultimately help those crops grow as they were already at the reproductive stage. At the time of cultivation, germination for grams crop was poor; therefore lower output of the crop was expected, he said.
Talking about the weather forecast for next couple of weeks, he said two more spells of rain ranging between 10 to 15 millimetres were expected by the end of that month. “By and large, we will be getting good production of wheat and grams even in the arid areas of the country,” he said, adding the condition of the crops in the arid areas of Pakistan was poor before the recent rain spell. Rasul suggested that farmers build water reservoirs on self-help basis as the country was going to face acute shortage of water in the coming years. “There may be shortage of drinking water, let alone water for agriculture,” he said.