Islamabad January 27 2022: Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam chaired the wheat review committee on 27th January, 2022.
The meeting was conducted with the provincial counterparts to monitor the status of wheat crop in the country. The meeting was attended by the representation from all provinces. On the special invitation, Ms. Fehmida Mirza, Minister for Inter- Provincial Coordination also attended the meeting.
Fakhar Imam said that the purpose of the meeting was to ensure progress is monitored in order to ensure that the assigned wheat crop targets are met. He said that wheat is the most important crop and any issues arising should be catered to timely in order to stay on track.
Fakhar said that the current government has put extraordinary focus on agriculture, regular monitoring is being done through weekly meetings. Fakhar Imam was briefed that 30% drought and disease tolerant seed was used which would positively contribute towards wheat production.
Secretary Agriculture Punjab discussed revision of minimum support price (MSP) of wheat to support successful achievement of wheat procurement target. Proposed procurement target of Punjab stands at 3.5 Mn tonnes, KPK and Baluchistan at 1 lakh tonnes. Whereas, Sindh’s procurement target will be between 1.2-1.4 Mn tonnes, which will be finalized by the Sindh Cabinet. Agriculture Punjab briefed Fakhar Imam that Punjab will achieve its previous sowing target but will not be able to achieve its enhanced target. On the other hand, KPK, Balochistan and Sindh has achieved their sowing targets.
All provinces stated that the assigned production targets will be met however concern was shown about the DAP and urea availability and prices. Minister was briefed by Met Department that forecasted that during February below normal, whereas in March, 2022 above normal rainfall spell, especially in the Central Punjab, may occur.
Moreover, IRSA clarified that irrigation water shortage which was estimated at 28 percent at the sowing time of crop has now been improved due to recent spell of rainfall. Now shortfall for the current Rabi season is calculated at 20 percent. It was a general consensus that certified seed was adequately available. However, high prices and unavailability of urea was considered an on-going challenge. Minister was briefed that the high price of DAP has also resulted in its overall lower usage. Fakhar said few parameters have been established to ensure that wheat crop sowing is monitored effectively.
Fakhar said these parameters include but are not limited to wheat sowing area and completion percentage of the assigned target, sowing method (Drilling or Broadcasting), quantum of fertilizer used during sowing practices (DAP and Urea), fertilizer offtake, certified seeds used, seed varieties used during sowing (old or new rust tolerant wheat varieties), availability status of herbicides and fertilizer availability and pricing status etc. Fakhar Imam ensured all the participants that necessary steps will be immediately taken to ensure that the factors of production are available in ample supply. Fakhar Imam praised the efforts of Punjab in ensuring that the farmers sow wheat seeds timely.