Water deficit coupled with sugar mills operational drag has cut down the area under wheat by 0.822 million as the crop has been sown over 8.011 million hectares across the country against the target of 8.833 million hectares for this season, an official said on Tuesday.
“The cultivation was almost up to the set mark, but a holdup in sugarcane crushing and late irrigation of paddy crop reduced the area under wheat in Sindh and Balochistan provinces,” Dr Imtiaz Ahmad Gopang, Food Security Commissioner at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, told APP.
“During the same period of last sowing season, wheat cultivation was recorded at 8.839 million hectares.”
Gopang said one of the other reasons behind this reduction was the shortage of irrigation water, which was forecast to reduce 35 percent during the season; however, with the first spell of rains, situation improved and wheat sowing in rain-fed areas gained momentum.
“Nonetheless, the area under wheat cultivation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province witnessed a two percent increase,” the official said adding that area under crop was expected to increase as the sowing would continue till the end of December.
The food security commissioner said sowing over 90.7 percent area had been completed by mid of December compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Gopang said, Punjab province had achieved the sowing targets by 95 percent, Sindh 73 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 94 percent, and Balochistan by 71 percent. “In Sindh, wheat has been sown over 0.845 million hectares, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.725 million hectares, and in Balochistan it has been cultivated over 0.286 million hectares of land,” he added.
The official further said healthy wheat output was expected this season, adding that rains, expected in the month of January, 2019, would add to the crop’s growth, boosting productivity.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) said seed cotton (Phutti) equivalent to 9.962 million (9,962,657) bales reached ginneries across Pakistan till December 15,2018,registering a shortfall by 6.77 percent compared to corresponding period of last year.
Out of total arrivals, over 9.4 million or 9,488,411 bales have undergone the ginning process, said a fortnightly report of PCGA issued on Tuesday.
Arrivals in Punjab were recorded as 5.9 million or 5,918,023bales and over 4 million or 4,044,634 bales in Sindh. Total sold out bales were recorded as over 8.1 million or8,154,749 including over 8 million or 8,055,160 bales bought by textile mills and another 99,589 bales purchased by exporters. Around 1.8 million or 1,807,908 bales were still lying with the ginneries as unsold stock.
The report does not include cotton figures from districts of Kasur, and Sargodha.
Exactly 513 ginning factories were operational in the country out of total 1300,including 365 in Punjab and 148 in Sindh. However,826 ginning factories were operational during corresponding period of last year including 597 in Punjab and 229in Sindh.