Continued dry spell in the country has resulted in a shortage of 18 percent in the water reservoirs and created fear of a negative impact on production of two most important crops including wheat and grams. This year the Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD) has fixed a target of sowing wheat on an area of 16.8 million acres of land with the production target fixed at 19.5 million tons.
Grams are sown every year on an area of around 2.2 million acres in the province while farmers produce around 0.25 million tons of grams every year. Fifteen per cent of wheat is sown in Barani (Rain-fed) areas of the province while 92 percent of the total cultivation of grams is carried out in Barani areas. Keeping in view the continued dry spell, the provincial agriculture department has advised the growers of 'Grams' crop to irrigate their crop by using sprinkler system and eradicate weeds.
The department fears to miss even the cultivation target of Grams because of dry spell and low moisture in the fields. The Punjab Agriculture Department arranged Namaz-e-Istisqaa throughout the province on Tuesday asking forgiveness and mercy of the Allah almighty in shape of rain to fill the water reservoirs as well as to irrigate the crops.
The Namaz was also arranged in the 'Agriculture House' in Lahore which was attended by Director General Agriculture (Extension) Dr Anjum Ali Buttar, Director General Water Management (Punjab) Malik Muhammad Akram, Director Headquarters Masood Qadir Waqar, other officers and officials.
The faithful urged the Allah almighty to bless the country with prosperity through rain. Later talking to media persons, Dr Anjum Ali and Malik Muhammad Akram said that rains not only fulfil the need for irrigating the crops but also reduces the environmental pollution.
They said 60 percent of Pakistan's population relies on agriculture while it has around 20 per cent share in the national GDP. While 63 percent of our total exports also dependent on agriculture. Punjab's share in important crops is around 70 per cent and 45 per cent of its total population is living in rural areas while 65 percent of the population is attached with the agriculture directly or indirectly. They said that Punjab contributes 19.5 million tons in total wheat production of the country, 3.6 million tons in rice, 9.062 million bales in cotton, 41.1 million tons in sugarcane, 04 million tons in maize and 0.025 million tons in Grams.
As far as percentage is concerned, Punjab produces 76 percent of the wheat, 74 percent of cotton, 56 percent in Paddy, 65 percent in sugarcane, 78 percent in maize, 98 percent of the total citrus fruit and 66 percent of mangoes. They were of the view that the province plays a key role in eradication of poverty from rural areas and ensuring food security for the country.