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Wheat target met in Taxila

TAXILA, May 21: Officials of the agriculture department in Taxila said the area had produced a bumper wheat crop, and the average yield target had been achieved despite the rains during the harvesting season.

Officials said the area, which is fed by both rain and tubewells, had produced a high yield of wheat for the second consecutive year.

Ms Shaista Yasmeen, agriculture officer Taxila, said the total cultivated area of Taxila was 40,697acres, of which 4,876acres was irrigated and the remaining was Barani (rain fed). The official area for the production of wheat was 328,000acres.

Ms Yasmeen said the target set for irrigated areas was 28 mounds per acre, while for the Barani areas the target was 22 to 24 mounds per acre. This target was achieved despite the unfavourable weather and rains.

“Currently, there is ideal sunshine and heat, particularly for threshing of wheat in the Potohar region. Farmers should complete the threshing process in this dry spell,” Ms Yasmeen said.

Official said almost 96 percent of farmers in Taxila were done with the harvesting process, and some were still waiting for the threshing machines. Farmers complained that the unavailability of these machines, used to separate the wheat grain from the husk, was damaging the harvested crop, and they were forced to hire the services of private threshing outlets.

Talking to this reporter, a farmer, Malik Aziz, said the rainy spell in the last week of April and the first two weeks of May had worried farmers as it had delayed harvesting and threshing, and had damaged the sheaves which had been heaped on the ground for threshing.

He said farmers were happy because of the huge wheat production this year, as timely rains had allowed for maximum yield and profit. “The increased profit will enable us to purchase modern machinery such as tractors, which would further improve production of the crops in the future.”

Another farmer, Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, said he would complete the harvesting and threshing process in five to six days during the current dry spell.

“We are thrashing crop with the help of our relatives to complete the work as soon as possible,” he said.

Raja Mohammad Javaid, a farmer in Punj Khatta, said a high yield was being expected not only in Taxila but the entire Potohar region, as the wheat fields had received a healthy rainfall this year.

Another farmer Malik Tahir Suleman said low temperature in the early days of the month had improved the quality and size of the wheat grain. However, he said the wheat targets in the irrigated areas would be met as the crop there was unaffected.