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Rains at this time of the year will have a positive impact on major kharif crops' production including sugarcane, rice, maize and cotton, agriculturists and Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNS&R) said.

According to senior officials of MNS&R and agriculturists, the ongoing monsoon rains would have a significant positive impact on both high delta kharif crops including sugarcane, rice and maize and low delta kharif notably cotton. Heavy rains have not been reported in the cotton belt of the country, and hence so far the crop has not been damaged, however if heavy rains occur in cotton belt it may damage the crop.

This year the entire country, including desert areas of Cholistan and Tharparkar, have received good rains with a positive impact on crops as well as livestock sector, Khalid Khokhar President Kissan Ithad talking to Business Recorder said.

Cotton Commissioner MNFS&R Dr Khalid Abdullah said the government has fixed production target of 12.7 million bales of cotton from an area of 2.895 million hectares. Pakistan has been continually missing cotton production target since 2010 and for the ongoing season the government has fixed cotton production target at 12.7 million bales.

The official pointed out that if there are heavy rains in the cotton belt it would have a negative impact on its output as rain cause various diseases in the cotton crop. Large standing water for more than 24 hours was not beneficial for the cotton crop, he said.

Officials and agriculturists are agreed that the present rainfall will have a positive impact on the Rabi crops as increased moisture level in the soil will help produce healthy wheat crop, vegetables and fodder.

The government has fixed sugarcane production target at 68.58 million tons from an area of 2.37 million acres; and fixed paddy production target at 7.2 million tons from an area of 6.4 million acres.

Rice is a major kharif crop, which requires good water supply and current monsoon rains have improved water supply in the paddy producing regions of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which would help achieve the production target of 7.2 million tons.

After wheat, rice is the second main staple food crop and the second major exportable commodity, contributing 3.1 percent of value added to agriculture and 0.6 percent to GDP.

Maize is the third most important cereal crop, contributing 2.2 percent to the value added in agriculture and 0.4 percent to GDP; in most parts of the country maize crop is dependent on rainfall. Maize production target has been fixed at 5.301 million tons for the kharif season, and good water supply would have a positive impact on crop output.

According to weather advisory issued for farmers by the Pakistan Meteorological Department's (PMD) National Agromet Centre (NAC), farmers are advised to take necessary measures to protect standing crops and vegetables from damaging effects of varying weather patterns due to monsoon systems.

PMD has advised cotton growers to take necessary measures as accumulation of stagnant water in the fields due to heavy rains is fatal for standing crops like cotton. Farmers of rain-fed areas were also advised to take measures to preserve rain water for crops and livestock.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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