Rust-resistant seeds can significantly increase wheat production: minister

Staff Reporter BOL News

28th Sep, 2021. 02:20 pm

ISLAMABAD: Through managing the controllable factors, which included the availability of the high quality of seeds that are rust-resistant and certified, effective utilisation of water and proper usage of fertilisers and pesticides, the overall production of wheat can be significantly increased, a senior government official said.

In this regard, a meeting of the Wheat Review Committee 2021/22 crop was held under the chair of Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, which was attended by the representatives of all provincial food departments, Passco and senior officials of the ministry.

The minister welcomed the participants and thanked them for their participation and invited them all to share their feedback and recommendations for the development of wheat crop, mainly to ensure food security in the country.

Imam was briefed about the latest wheat production estimates, stock positions, carry forward and procurement progress and update on wheat release price and minimum support price.

The minister said every year almost 5 to 6 million people are added to the population, which increases the demand for wheat in the country. He stressed that both the overall area under cultivation and per hectare yield needs to be increased.

The minister sensitised the provincial food departments about timely finalisation of the minimum support price. Imam said that for the minimum support price to be effective it should be finalised before the sowing season of wheat.

He was briefed that the provinces have submitted their minimum support price proposals and are awaiting Cabinet approval.

Imam was also briefed that Punjab and KP have finalised its wheat release policy at Rs1,950/40kg, whereas the retail price would be Rs1,100/20kg, while Sindh has yet to get final approval from its Cabinet for its wheat release policy.

The provincial agricultural departments briefed the minister about the latest production figures of wheat. Punjab’s production is estimated at 20.9 million tonnes, Sindh’s 4.04 million tonnes, whereas KP and GB’s production estimates stand at 1.45 million tonnes and 1.15 million tonnes.

The total wheat stock available with Punjab stands at 3.86 million tonnes, Sindh 1.26 million tonnes, KP 0.18 million tonnes and Balochistan 0.085 million tonnes.

Imam said that the government has been focusing on the availability of certified seed and for the upcoming season, around 530,000 tonnes would be available, including 160,000 tonnes of rust-tolerant varieties.

The minister said the government’s enhancement of minimum support price to Rs1,800 from Rs1,400 produced good results, which helped the country harvest the highest crop (27.5 million tonnes).

A number of factors helped achieve this historic production, including favourable weather conditions, availability of certified seed (513,000 tonnes), availability of fertilisers and irrigation water, etc.

Imam said that the government wishes to formulate a policy where every stakeholder is heard and all concerns are addressed, adding that an informed policy will be made before the sowing season to enhance wheat productivity and the overall production.

He also assured GB and AJ&K that the federal government is fully willing to supply wheat to the wheat deficit areas from Passco’s stocks.

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