Water scarcity could hit major crops cultivation during Kharif season

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ISLAMABAD: The looming water crisis according to the government could impact cultivation of the major food crops during the ongoing season but remained optimistic over prudent supplies of other agriculture inputs.

Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) meeting was held on Tuesday, presided by the Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikander Bosan, which mentioned Pakistan could come across 33 percent water shortage during the Kharif season because of the forecast of low rains, reported The News.

Cotton production target was set by the FCA at 14.37 million bales, maize production 5.301 million tons, rice 6.931 million tons, sugarcane 68.16 million tons for the ongoing Kharif season.

Also, production targets for other commodities were set like tomatoes 166.7 million tons, chillies 117,900 tons, mash pulse 11,300 tons and moong 120,600 tons.

The authorities have been informed by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) snow cover remained 20 to 25 percent lower than the historical average.

It projected rainfall to remain low for April-June and temperatures one to 20°C warmer than normally experienced.

Wheat production was four percent less than what was projected by the FCA which had estimated it at 25.41 million tons starting from October 1st, 2017 to March 31st, 2018.

In the aforementioned period, lentil harvest was projected at 6.6 million tons which were 34.7 percent less than what was envisaged, gram production was forecast 335,000 tons which was 45.7 percent less than the target.

FCA also forecast potatoes for the period to be 4.264 million tons against a target of 3.808 million tons, portraying a rise of 12 percent.

Whereas, onion production was forecast to be 1.91 million tons which was 1.6 percent higher than the target of 1.88 million tons.

Tomatoes production also was estimated to increase by 1.3 percent to 494,900 tons.

According to Bosan, Pakistan had become a net exporter of several commodities. He added the country had exported 0.2 million tons of tomatoes out of which 14,000 tons went to Russia.

The minister for national food security said 80,000 tons of onions were also exported by Pakistan during previous four months.