Preoccupied with the ongoing price controversy, the government on Tuesday fixed an 'ambitious' wheat production target of 24 million tons for the Rabi season 2007-08. The authorities have also fixed support price at Rs 465 per 40 kilogram to encourage farmers grow more wheat.
The decision was taken at the 87th meeting of the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) held here on Tuesday. Later, the Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal) said while talking to the newsmen that last year the record wheat production of 23.5 million tons was achieved, but for the year 2007-08, the government expects more. If the government succeeded in achieving this production target than hopefully, the country will not have to face the wheat and flour crisis next year.
The FCA meeting mainly discussed water availability for Kharif season along with inputs for Rabi 2007-08 such as seed, fertiliser, credit and plant protection, and targets for Rabi crops 2007-08 such as wheat, gram, lentil, potato and onion.
The minister told the panel of the journalists present there that the production target of cotton for 2007-08 was set 14.2 million bales while the first assessment of the production achieved is 12.807 million bales. Last year the achievement was 12.5 million bales.
So, this year, the crop production is indicates a growth of 2.5 percent over the last year's production. He said that 0.1 million bales of cotton have destroyed in Balochistan due to floods and rains. In NWFP, most of the cotton areas especially in Dera Ismail Khan, have been replaced by the sugarcane crop.
The initial target for cotton was set as 14.2 million bales by the government but due to the floods in Balochistan and Sindh along with the furious attacks of mealy bug and cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV), the government may miss this target.
Last year the production of sugar cane crop was 54,871.0 million tons while the crop production in 2007-08 is 62.3 million tons that indicates a growth of 13.5 percent as compared to the last year. "We have achieved a record production of rice this year," the minister said.
The rice crop production during the last year was 5.4 million tons while the production achieved this year is 5.5 million tons. This indicates a growth of 1.15 percent over the last year.
"Floods in Balochistan and Sindh along with the pest attacks in Punjab have caused a loss of 0.2 million tons to the rice production," the minister disclosed.
The maize production has shown an upward trend as it has indicated a growth of 5.3 percent over the last year. The production achieved is 3.24 million tons while it was 3 million tons in the last year. The lentil production target for 2007-08 is set to be 23.95 thousand tons while the crop production last year was 21 thousand tons.
The production target for potato crop is fixed as 2.1 million tons while the last years' production was 2.4 million tons. The onion crop production during the last year remained 1.7 million tons whereas it is set at 1.8 million tons for 2007-08.
Moong's production was 0.128 million tons last year while it is fixed 0.152 million tons for 2007-08. The overall domestic requirement of the grams is 0.6 million tons. The production achieved last year was 0.761 million tons while the target fixed for the next crop is 0.841 million tons.
The minister said that during the Rabi season, 2007-08, the water availability would be 28.64 MAF while the last year it was 30 MAF. The urea availability for Rabi season, 2007-08, is estimated at 2.8 million tons against the domestic requirement of 2.4 million tons. The government is importing 150,000 tons of urea to cater for increased demand during December.
The availability of DAP is 0.925 million tons against the domestic requirement of 0.8730 million tons. The certified wheat seed availability is estimated at 0.2 million tons. The minister said that the price of the herbicides would be 15-20 percent less than the last year.