Ongoing Rabi crop season: Figures reveal
govt missed wheat sowing target by 3%
By Ijaz Kakakhel
The market figures revealed that the government has missed
the wheat sowing target by 2 to 2.5 percent in the ongoing
Rabi crop season for the year 2012, it was learnt on Monday.
Last year, the government had achieved 8.9 million hectares
wheat sowing target for the year 2011 and the same was
considered for the current year 2012. The initial estimates
revealed that the wheat sowing target has been missed by 2.5
to 3 percent, which might affect wheat production target set
by the government at 25 million tonnes. However, the
government expects that final estimates of the wheat sowing
might be final next month (February) for the year 2012.
The sources said the government has set 25 million tonnes
target. In absence of Federal Ministry for Food and
Agriculture, the government failed to hold the high power
Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) meeting, which was
usually held by federal minister for food and agriculture
before the Rabi and Kharif seasons. The FCA meeting sets
major crops targets, availability of inputs including water,
credit facility to farmers for purchase of inputs and many
more. But after devolution of process and devolution of
Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the FCA meeting was not
held for the last two seasons. In the FCA meeting, all the
four provinces presented their crops estimates for coming
seasons and reviewed the crop situation of ongoing season.
It is reported that Pakistan has missed the wheat crop
sowing target by 1.8 million acres only in the Punjab
province. Such a low wheat sowing target might lead to
reduction of wheat production to around 23 million tonnes
against the target of 25 million tonnes set for the current
Main reasons for missing sowing target are unnecessary delay
in sowing; low acreage and high fertilizer prices what badly
hurt the wheat production.
The sources also claimed the farmers are confronting severe
problems while getting urea fertilizer across the country.
On one side there is shortage of urea and on the other side
the prices are very high.
Currently, the sources said that urea fertilizer prices are
at Rs 1,645 per 50 kilogrammes (kg) bag while last year it
was sold at the rate of Rs 800 per 50kg bag. The DAP
currently values at Rs 4,000 per 50kg bag, while last year
it was Rs 2,000 per 50kg bag. The sources claimed that
fertilizer was usually sold in open market on black and the
farmers were compelled to pay higher prices.
The farmers are losing interest in wheat because of
worsening terms of trade of the crop. In the last one year,
the cost of production has gone up by 30 to 40 percent only
on the fertilizer and diesel heads.
Practically, it means that the farmers would be suffering a
net loss of 20 to 30 percent if compared with last year’s
price of wheat. It has simply turned the crop financially
unfeasible for farmers.
There has been a great increase in the prices of seeds,
electricity and pesticides along with the other input
prices, which is why the farmers are reluctant to cultivate
wheat. Similarly, the government is not even providing
enough subsidies and high wheat support prices to the
farmers, which is why the farmers are facing a lot of
losses. If the government does not take immediate steps then
the country might likely face a wheat production shortfall
and the farmers will surely miss out on the wheat sowing
target. It is time the government makes an efficient and
effective plan to aid the farmers.
Last year, the government set wheat production target of 25
million tonnes but actually achieved 23.87 million tonnes
wheat production over 8.9 million hectares sowing areas.
Although the government established the Ministry of National
Food Security and Research, but still it is not fully
functional and even operational budget was not provided to
the ministry. There is no centralised place or ministry
where data of all major crops might be compared.
Courtesy: Daily Times