Surplus stock of major crops available in country: Bosan

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APP37-11 ISLAMABAD: October 11 - Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan chairing the meeting of Federal Committee on Agriculture for Rabi Season 2017-18. APP

ISLAMABAD, Oct 11 (APP):Minister for Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Wednesday said that the country had achieved self-sufficiency, rather exportable surplus in major crops including sugarcane, rice and wheat, by surpassing the targets both in terms of area under cultivation and production.
“The sugarcane production for 2017-18 has been estimated at 81.4 million tons from an area of 1.312 million hectares. The Rice production for 2017-18 is estimated at 7.3 million tons from an area of 2.88 million hectares, and the maize production for 2017-18, is estimated at 5.3 million tons from an area of 1.24 million hectares,” the minister said while addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting of Federal Committee on Agriculture Wednesday held here to review performance of the Kharif crops (2017-18) and production and availability plan for Rabi crops (2017-18).
He said the committee fixed the production target (2017-18) for wheat 26.46 million tons on an area of 8.95 million hectares.
During the meeting the FCA proposed to rationalize the area of wheat and enhancing the production of pulses, oilseed and other high value crops to minimize import bill of the country.
“The government is focusing on minimizing the deficit of pulses and oil seed in the country by pushing the wheat growers to cultivate pulses and oilseed on the area spared from wheat area,” the minister added.
The meeting was attended by high officials from Provincial Agriculture Departments, State Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL, National Fertilizer Development Center, Pakistan Meteorological Department, Indus River System Authority, PARC, NARC, Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department, Pakistan Oil seeds Development Board, Department of Plant Protection, Federal Water Management Cell and PASSCO.
In order to benefit from available export avenues for potato, the committee agreed to the production target of 3.81 million tons from an area of 0.17 million hectares.
Mr Bosan said the monsoon rains from July to September 2017 remained 25 per cent below average in the country. He said during October-December 2017, the average rainfall is also expected to remain 10-12 per percent below average.
He said keeping in view the expected reduced rainfall, the IRSA advisory committee anticipated short fall of 20 per cent in availability of water in 2017-18.
He said the shortfall will be passed on Punjab and to Sindh provinces which are major user of water while KPK and Balochistan will remain exempted from adverse effects of shortages.
Regarding agriculture loans, the minister informed that allocations of institutional credit for agriculture had substantially increased to Rs 1001 billion for 2017-18 and during July-August, the agri lending institution had disbursed agri loans 97.6 billion which is 97 per cent of annual target of loan.
Moreover, the FCA also noted that the supply of Urea and DAP fertilizers was satisfactory for 2017-18 Kharif Season. The supply of Urea will remain comfortable during Rabi season 2017-18 due to enhanced local production and sufficient stock position. However,availability of DAP may witness slight deficiency for the reason of low local production and import by private sector.
To a question, the minister said despite acute shortage of tomatoes in the country not a single tomato was imported from India which helped saving Rs 10 billion of foreign exchange.
“We had a principle stand over the issue that as the tomato is not an essential food item, we will not import tomato”, he said adding that hoped that in future no such crisis would emerge.
To another question he informed that currently the country had 1.2 million tons of sugar and the government had allowed all those sugar mills who had cleared all arrears of sugarcane growers to export sugar up to 500,000 tons.