The overall output of wheat may be considerably enhanced by managing controllable elements such as the availability of high quality rust-resistant and certified seedlings, good water management, and adequate fertiliser and pesticide use, according to a senior government official.
In this regard, under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, a meeting of the Wheat Review Committee for the 2021/22 crop was held, which was attended by representatives from all provincial food departments, Passco, and senior ministry officials.
The minister greeted the attendees, thanked them for coming, and encouraged them to offer their views and ideas for the growth of the wheat crop, primarily to ensure the country’s food security.
Imam was updated on wheat production projections, stock positions, carry forward and procurement activities, as well as the latest wheat release price and minimum support price.
According to the minister, the country’s population grows by about 5 to 6 million people each year, increasing the need for wheat. He emphasised that both the total area under cultivation and the output per hectare must be enhanced.
The minister warned the provincial food departments about the need of completing the minimum support price on schedule. The minimum support price, according to the Imam, should be determined before the wheat sowing season to be effective.
The provinces have submitted their minimum support price recommendations and are awaiting Cabinet approval, he was informed.
Imam was also informed that Punjab and KPK have finalised their wheat release policies at Rs1,950/40kg, with a retail price of Rs1,100/20kg, but Sindh’s wheat release policy is still to receive final Cabinet clearance.
The minister was informed on the latest wheat output data by the provincial agriculture ministries. Punjab’s production is projected to be 20.9 million tonnes, Sindh’s at 4.04 million tonnes, and KP and GB’s at 1.45 million tonnes and 1.15 million tonnes, respectively.
Punjab has 3.86 million tonnes of wheat on hand, Sindh has 1.26 million tonnes, KP has 0.18 million tonnes, and Balochistan has 0.085 million tonnes.
According to Imam, the government has been concentrating on the supply of certified seed, with about 530,000 tonnes available for the forthcoming season, including 160,000 tonnes of rust-tolerant types.
According to the minister, the government’s decision to raise the minimum support price to Rs1,800 from Rs1,400 yielded positive effects, allowing the country to harvest the biggest crop ever (27.5 million tonnes).
A variety of variables contributed to this record-breaking crop, including favourable weather, the availability of certified seed (513,000 tonnes), fertilisers, and irrigation water, among others.
Imam stated that the government intends to develop a strategy in which all stakeholders are heard and all concerns are addressed, and that a well-informed policy would be developed prior to the planting season in order to boost wheat productivity and total 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.