ISLAMABAD: Barani areas which contribute about 10 per cent to wheat production in the country suffered a setback this year as drought at the sowing time reduced the planting area by more than 20pc with apprehensions that it may cause a crop shortfall of 30-40pc.
According to a situation report published by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), the early part of Rabi 2016-17 was an unfavourable period for wheat crop in Barani areas where the germination was patchy and the moisture stress at early stage resulted in a poor crop stand and low productivity.
Barani areas generally produce 1.6 million to 2m tonnes of wheat, but this year the production might get reduced drastically, the report says. It says that drought from October to December last year affected the sowing operation and reduced the wheat sowing area.
These areas received their first rain in January 2017 and this helped the tillering process in the crop, but the damage caused by drought during previous months was irrevocable and lasting for the entire season.
Suparco has released wheat crop estimates for 2016-17 at production of 27,069.9 thousand tonnes from an area of 9,371 thousand hectares with an average yield of 2,889kg per hectare.