ISLAMABAD-Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) here on Wednesday was informed that wheat procurement target set for current crop season were achieved by 79.95 per cent in order to fulfill the domestic requirements as well as keeping the strategic reserves.

The FCA was further informed that wheat shortfall in the country was estimated at 1.4 million tons as compared to the production of 27 million tons during last year.

The FCA, which met here with Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam in chair, reviewed the progress of output of different major and minor crops of the last season besides fixing the targets for next season, said a press release. The meeting was informed that wheat procurement targets set for the current crop season were achieved by 79.95 per cent.

Meanwhile, Food Security Commissioner, Dr Waseem told the meeting that after many years the country had achieved bumper chick pea crop as against the target of 540,000 tonnes.

He said this year there would be a saving of Rs.87 million as there would be less chick pea import, adding that this year production was increased to 23.71 per cent. He informed that bumper potato crop was also harvested during the season as last year potato production was recorded at 4.4 million tonnes while this year production reached to 4.43 million tonnes.

Food security commissioner further apprised the meeting that Balochistan had also produced a bumper crop of tomato this year, which was a significant step.

Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department told the meeting that they were working on a mechanism for production of pulses and fodder seed in Balochistan. In this regard, the FSC&RD hold meetings with three companies of Balochistan.

The representative from Balochistan mentioned that Balochistan agriculture department was working on it and required support from FSC&RD.

Secretary NFS&R, Omar Hamid asked for more coordination between Balochistan and FSC&RD.

It was also discussed that FSC&RD need to make mechanism for delegating power to provinces to inspect seed at distribution level and all provinces showed consensus on it.

The PMD mentioned that weather forecast was provided to farmers on daily basis, while Department of Plant Protection (DPP) also briefed about white fly insecticide products. The Meteorological department representative mentioned that Potohar and Kashmir region will receive heavy rainfall in next 3 months that can be devastating for crops. But there would be impact on rice crop.

The representative of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) mentioned that 95 per cent target of agriculture credit will be achieved this year. The Indus River System Authority representative mentioned that this year about 9 per cent more water would be available for Khareef season. Similarly, the FCA fixed rice production targets at 7.9 mn tonnes, maize 6.7 million tonnes, moong bean 1,140 million tonnes, Mash is 10,300 tons and chilkies is 1.21 million tonnes.

Speaking on the occasion, Syed Fakhar Imam asked for introducing innovative technology for crop production in order to minimize the cost of output. He said agriculture sector was the leading force of national economy, adding Prime Minister Imran Khan had also stressed on importance of agriculture. The minister also stressed the need for increasing wheat production which was cultivated over 36 per cent of cultivated areas, by introducing high yield wheat variety through genetic engineering.

He said our country had best irrigation system which was not optimized properly. Awareness must be given at grass root level, he said and asked to implement international protocol at level of growing crops, internal and external market.

We need to increase production of oil seed including sunflower, Canola,Rosehip seedand Mustard, he added.