ISLAMABAD (APP) - Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, said on Tuesday that substitute crops would be introduced in rain-fed areas where wheat crop was effected due to current dry spell in the country. In an exclusive interview with APP, the minister said that government would help growers for further utilizing their land to cultivate canola, peanuts and other alternative crops to properly avail their cultivable-land. This would help the growers in arid areas to overcome losses by cultivating substitute crops including oil seed, canola and peanuts etc, he added. Wheat cultivation in rain-fed areas was reduced by 30pc due to prevailing dry spell, however, the minister said that arid area under crop production was increased by 3pc. Nazar Gondal said that sufficient carry forward wheat stock was available for domestic consumption adding that deficited area would be covered by applying good agri-practices in the country and the situation would improve when these areas receive rain. He said that 1.2m tons sugar would be imported for smooth supply of the commodity in the country adding that TCP was allowed to import 500,000 tons of sugar while rest would be imported by the private sector. To control the imported sugar prices, government has exempted it from the GST. Besides this, he said that government was also negotiating with Philippines for import of sugar because the country has exportable surplus while the country needs rice for its domestic consumption and Pakistan can fulfil its requirement. The minister said that Pakistan has exportable surplus of rice which could be provided to the Philippines. Nazar Gondal said that this year cotton production has crossed the figures of 13 million bales and about 20 percent BT cotton seed would be provided to farmers by next year to further enhance the crop production. The minister said that Rs.37 billion would be spent to enhance storage capacity in the country.