ISLAMABAD-A high-powered Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has expressed satisfaction over the food security situation in the country but emphasized the need for research & development as well as better coordination to consolidate the gains and ensure further progress of the agriculture sector.
Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) mandated to oversee strategic measures for ensuring food security in the country met under the chairmanship of Zafar Hasan, Federal Secretary of Ministry of National Food Security & Research. Besides participations of senior officers of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, the meeting was attended by the Provincial Agriculture Departments, State Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL, National Fertilizer Development Center (NFDC), Pakistan Meteorological Department, Indus River System Authority and member, Food Security & Climate Change of Planning Commission of Pakistan.
To overcome this shortage and uplift the agriculture sector, the government prioritizing agriculture announced special relief for the flood affected farmers in the Kisan package. Duty free imports of onion and tomatoes were also allowed so that there is no shortage in market and prices remain stable.
While reviewing the performance of the Rabi crops (2022-23), the Committee observed that wheat production for 2022-23 is estimated at 26.81 million tons from an area of 9.0 million hectares; the increase in production is 1.6% over the last year whereas, the potato production for 2022-23 is estimated 7.9 million tons from an area of 0.3 million hectares; the increase in production is 1.9% over the last year and tomato production for 2022-23 is estimated 563.6 thousand tons from an area of 45.7 thousand hectares; the increase in production is 1.2% over last year.
The gram production for 2022-23 has been estimated at 313 thousand tons from an area of 820.6 thousand hectares; the decrease in production is 1% over the last year. Due to rains and floods in July-September 2022 and climate situation onion production for 2022-23 reported decrease over the last year. The FCA held detailed deliberations over the production targets for essential Kharif crops 2023-24 and decided to fix 9 million tons production target for rice over 3.1 million hec of land and fix 7.6 million tons production target for maize over 1.3 million hec of land. The Committee also fixed the production target (2023-24) of sugarcane at 78.6 million tons over an area of 1.2 million hectares. The targets for other crops such as Mung, Mash and chilies were also fixed. Pondering over the availability of agricultural inputs for Kharif crops (2023), the water availability in canals head will remain 62.74 million acres feet (MAF) as against last year which was 43.27 MAF. At present all the provinces are getting their satisfactory supplies in the system. Meteorological department informed that slightly above normal rains are expected in the three months (April-June, 2023) particularly over upper half of the country. Lesser rains are expected during month of June. The temperature may remain slightly above normal in most parts of the country. Gradual rise in temperature will accelerate the snow melt in the northern Areas. The seasonal rainfall may provide water for crops in the main rainfed areas while lower parts of the country will remain deficient during the season of Kharif.
The Committee was informed that the availability of rice and maize seed will remain available as per requirement. The representative from State Bank of Pakistan informed that allocations of institutional credit for agriculture had substantially increased to Rs.1,819 billion for 2022-23 and the disbursement up to February, 2023 is Rs 1073.5 billion which is 59% of overall annual target of 1819 billion which is 28.5% higher than the disbursement of 835.3 billion made during last year.