Islamabad -  Wheat crop will be cultivated over 8,944.6 thousand hectares of land across the country during the current Rabi season to fulfill the domestic requirements as well as for exporting.

This year the government has fixed wheat production targets at 26.463 million tons to tackle with the staple food requirements as compared the production of the same period last year, said an official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Talking to APP here on Thursday, he said that crop would be cultivated over 6,637 thousand hectares in Punjab and over 1,150 thousand hectares in Sindh.

Meanwhile, he said that the government has also fixed wheat sowing targets at 400 thousand hectares of land in Balochistan during the period under review, he added. He said that Punjab was given a task to produce about 20 million of wheat during the current sowing campaign, where as the crop production target for the Sindh was fixed at 2.200 million tons.

About 1.363 million tons of the grains would be produced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 0.90000 million tons in Balochistan, respectively, he added. He informed that surplus wheat production was achieved during last year and about 4 to 5 million tons of carry forward stocks of the commodity was available in the country besides the strategic reserves for the food security in the country.

He further informed that wheat sowing would gain momentum after receiving the first rain of the winter season and it would go up in rain fed areas of the country. The official said that crop sowing in arid zones of the country was smoothly in progress, adding that the government had ensured the availability of all major inputs like certified seed, fertilisers, pesticides and agriculture credit for the farmers during the current crop sowing campaign.

Terming the recent spell of long awaited rains, he said that it would bring about positive impact on all season crops, vegetables and fruit orchids and help in their growth and development. Particularly, he said that first shower of the season would be most beneficial for major cash crop of the season and it encourage the farmers of rain fed areas to bring more areas under cultivation to maximise their income. He said that initial data regarding wheat sowing across the country would be received by the end of current month which would predict the actual picture of the crop in the country, which he said expected to witness significant increase as compared the sowing of the same period of last year.