ISLAMABAD: The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) on Thursday set the fresh production targets for sugarcane and rice crops.

The target for sugarcane was fixed at 68 million tonnes from an area of 1.40m hectares as compared to last year’s production of 63.9m tonnes.

The target for rice is 7m tonnes from an area of 2.8m hectares, whereas for the maize crop, the target is 4.6m tonnes.

The representatives of provincial agricultural departments urged the federal government to ensure adequate supply of urea and phosphate fertilisers during the season.

Speaking at a news conference after the FCA meeting, Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan stated that production of main crops, including rice, cotton, sugarcane and potatoes had increased. It had helped the government stabilise prices of essential commodities. He was of the view that farmers took a hit due to falling global prices of rice and cotton.

As far as irrigation water is concerned, the meeting was informed that availability of water would be satisfactory except for some areas of Sindh.

The Met Office reported the IRSA data that water levels in the reservoirs were better as compared to last year. Additionally, the Met Office was optimistic about prospects of rains in all parts of the country.

The committee was informed that the availability of certified seeds had increased during the Kharif sowing season.

The representative of State Bank informed the meeting that allocation of institutional credit for agriculture has substantially increased.

Wheat production has been estimated at 25.03m tonnes from an area of 9.17m hectares. The revised estimates have reduced the production target from 25.48m tonnes in view of slight damage to wheat crop owing to freak weather conditions.

The current production of gram crops has been estimated at 4.2m tonnes. The committee also reviewed production achievements of other crops, such as maize, chillies and pulses.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2015

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