Islamabad - Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan has said that there will be no shortage of water for agriculture in Kharif season except.
“We are expecting 5-8 percent nominal shortage of water for crops in Kharif season this year, which is a good omen for the agriculture sector, against the shortage of 25-30 percent witnessed during previous years”, Bosan told a press conference after chairing a meeting of Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) here. He said previously the FCA was to meet twice a year, but now it had been decided that its meeting would be held after every three months to review the position of Rabi and Kharif crops.
Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and heads of ministry’s other attached departments also participated in the meeting. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said the government had decided not to increase the support price for the wheat production this year as for the past four years the price was increased impacting the prices of the commodity. “We want to keep a balance between the wheat producing farmers and the users, who are the general public so that the prices could be maintained through a balanced approach”, he remarked. Bosan said during the past four years, the agriculture growth rate was stagnant at 2.5 percent and the government wanted to increase the growth of the sector by focusing on it. He added the government was focusing on 97.5 percent of the small and progressive farmers in order to boost the agriculture sector for the prosperity of the country. Bosan further said that he had submitted seed a certification and patent bill for the agriculture sector in 2007, but no action was taken on it. He said he would table this bill in the Parliament after the approval from the Prime Minister for the promotion of foreign investments in the agriculture sector.
He added that the seed sector had been the weakest sector in the agriculture sector and “We want to strengthen this sector for the development of agriculture in the country”. Bosan said that the FCA also reviewed the performance of Rabi crops 2013-14 and considered production plan for Kharif crops 2014-15.
The committee also discussed the position of supply of agricultural inputs for the Kharif crop 2014-15, he added. The committee, he said, was informed that wheat production for 2013-14 was estimated at 25.33 million tons from an area of 9.034 million hectares. He said that the Gram 2013-14 production was estimated around 0.468 million tons from an area of 0.976 million hectares. He added that the production achievements of other crops such as Lentil, Potato, Onion and Oilseeds were also discussed in the meeting.
Bosan said it was recommended that the production of pulses was much less than its potential and, therefore, agricultural departments of the provincial governments should plan to increase their production especially through improvement in agronomical practices and inter-cropping with other crops.
The minister said the committee fixed sugarcane production target of 68.83 million tons from an area of 1.167 million hectares for 2014-15.
He added that the rice targets for 2014-15 crop were fixed at an area of 2.786 million hectare and production at 6.81 million tons.
The other crops considered, he said, were Maize, Mash, Chillies and Tomatoes.
However, he said, the representatives of provincial agriculture departments emphasized that adequate supply of urea and phosphatic fertilizers during the Kharif must be ensured to achieve targets fixed.
The committee, he said, was also informed that irrigation water availability position for the current Kharif season was estimated at 108.15 million acres feet (MAF).
He added that it was summarized that water availability during Kharif 2014-15 would remain satisfactory in view of the present position of the reservoirs and snowfall during the current winter.
The committee, he said was informed that quantity of certified seed for Kharif crops would be available at around cotton 40%, rice 81.3%, maize 39.6% while pulses 14.8% of their total requirements.
The committee, he said, was informed that the availability of urea and DAP would be ensured during Kharif as per their requirements.
Bosan said the pesticide availability position during Kharif was satisfactory.
“The representatives of banks informed that allocations of credit for agriculture have been substantially increased and 13% higher against previous year, credit will be available”, he remarked.
Replying to a question on granting of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, he said the government had not yet taken any decision in this regard and the best interest of Pakistan would be kept supreme before making any decision.
About Thar, he said due to less rains the drought situation had occurred, but there was no shortage of wheat at federal and provincial levels and adequate amount of food had been supplied to the people of the affected areas.