Though the Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD) claims that nearly 80 percent of the total wheat sowing target of 16.8 million acres of land has been achieved but the crop is still under turbulence because of no rain and low moisture in the fields. Statistics issued by the department till last week shows that 77 percent of the sowing target had been achieved in rain-fed zone of the province showing a decline of slightly over 20 percent as compared to the same period of last year.
Similarly, there had been a decline of 8.56 percent in the rice-mixed zone, 20.47 percent decline in Rawalpindi, 11.39 percent in Sargodha, 13.97 percent in Faisalabad, 5.61 percent in Gujranwala and 13.70 percent in Sahiwal.
The departmental sources have claimed to achieve the sowing target in coming days, adding the temperature is suitable for the wheat. "Temperature as being forecast is equally good for sowing of wheat in all the areas of province till December 05, 2016," said the sources. However, they were concerned that the dry spell may have a negative impact on the production target of crop which has been set at 19.5 million tons for the year 2016-17.
Nevertheless, they said, off-take of fertilisers including Urea and DAP has witnessed an increase because of the subsidy offered by the provincial government. "Increased consumption of DAP fertilizers will especially help offset the damages of drought a little bit making a positive impact on the production," they said, adding that this fertilizers would also help improve the germination process of wheat.
The sources said the provincial agriculture department was providing guidance to the wheat growers at every step from sowing to the harvesting. Farmer training programmes are being arranged at village level to impart education about latest production technology to the growers. They said the farmers should complete the sowing at the earliest and follow the recommendations of the agricultural experts of the department for ensuring increase in their yield.