ISLAMABAD - Wheat sowing in the country for the crop season 2012-13 registered an increase of 0.44 per cent and reached 8,688.2 thousand hectares.

During the current sowing, wheat crop has been cultivated over 8,688.2 thousand hectares as compared to 8,673.7 thousand hectares last year, said Chief Agriculture Policy Institute (API), Abdul Rauf Chaudhry.

Talking to APP here on Tuesday, he said that owing to increase in the support price announced by the federal government, sufficient availability of other inputs like fertilizers, seeds and favorable weather conditions, wheat sowing received overwhelming response and maximum area came under the crop production.

He said that crop sowing in Punjab increased by 0.84 percent during the current Rabi season as compared to last year.

During the current Rabi season 6,537.1 thousand hectares of land was put under wheat cultivation as against 6482.1 thousand hectares last year.

API head informed that the major Rabi crop also witnessed increasing trend in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa where it was up to 0.1 percent and was cultivated over 729.3 thousand hectare of land. In Balochistan, he said that crop sowing decreased from 388.4 thousand hectares during last sowing season and reached 362.0 thousand hectares in current Rabi seasons.

Abdul Ruf further informed that crop outlook was satisfactory and it is expected that per acre output may increase from 2,691 kg per acre due to timely sowing and proper rains across the wheat sowing areas.

Currently all the factors are performing well as the crop was passing through milky stage but there are two major risks for the crop including temperature during the month of February and weather in the time of harvesting, he added. If the all the conditions remain same and nature continued favoring the crop over 24 million tons of wheat output are expected this years which would be a good and encouraging crop, he added.

API chief said that up to the start of current month strategic wheat stock was recorded at 4.8 million tons which stood at 9.3 million tons by the start of current consumption year.

He said that over 600,000 tons of wheat has been exported so far, adding that after two months new crop would start to arrive in the local market for fulfilling the domestic requirements.