Wheat production to hit new record this year in Pakistan

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LAHORE: Latest reports from fields suggest an upsurge in wheat production, with many expecting the country to surpass previous records with a huge margin.

A survey carried out by the publication suggested that Pakistan may harvest over 28.75 million tonnes of wheat this year. If the target is met then it would be two million tonnes more than the previous high of 26.67 million tonnes recorded in 2016/17.

The report sated that if the harvest gives the output that is expected then Pakistan may not require further imports at least in considerable quantities.

Due to the two back-to-back failures of crops, Pakistan had to import over two million tonnes during the last year to meet the shortfall in grain production.

Interestingly, the reports coming out of the survey is opposite to what the federal government has projected about the grain output.

While reviewing the performance of the rabi crops (2020/21) last week, the Federal Committee on Agriculture estimated wheat production to remain at 26.04 million tonnes, showing an increase of 1.7% over the last year.

In Punjab, the province which has a share of around 75% in total production, the wheat harvest may hover around 21.75 million this year, if the present trend found in early harvesting is to be followed.

Official circles have also lately voiced a significant upsurge in wheat output, at least in Punjab.

According to a senior official of the Punjab Agriculture Department, over 35 maund per acre average output is recorded in the crop cut samples.

This is more than the 30 maunds average per acre output of wheat in the province. 

To have an idea about how much total production could increase with even a slight increase in per acre yield, an official said, provincial production jumped around 600,000 tons with one maund per acre increase in the production if the present area under cultivation is taken into account.

The official was optimistic about the production of close to 21.75 million tonnes in the province against the previous high of 20.46 million tonnes achieved in 2016/17. Last year, Punjab’s output was 19.40 million tons.

Against the official estimates of more than 33 maunds per acre, farmers seem more upbeat about harvesting a much greater output of wheat in the 2020/21 season.

“We have never heard so consistently about 40-45 maunds per acre yield by so many growers this year,” said Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of Agri-Forum Pakistan.

The farmer said that a conducive temperature during the time the crop is sowed was favourable for such a high output. He added that reports of no rains this year led to virtually no rust on the crop due to low humidity and much of early sowing brought a synergy of three factors for the cultivation of a super healthy crop this year.

“Safely, we may see at least 1.5 million tons of more production than the initial estimates,” Mughal said.

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