The unusual drought in winter has hit wheat, grams, canola, sunflower, fodder and other strategic crops on the vast rain-fed (Barani) areas of Rawalpindi and Sargodha divisions, agriculture experts told Business Recorder here on Sunday. According to Meteorological department very dry and cold weather is likely to persist till 15th January and normal winter rains were not expected in the first half of the current month.
Commenting on the current position of Rabi crops, Director General Punjab Agriculture Extension Services Dr Anjum Ali said though the wheat crop in the canal irrigated areas is in its normal state of growth till first week of January, yet the important gram crop sown in the rain-fed region has been affected by the prolonged drought.
Another agro-economist Ibrahim Mughal said that last year Pakistan produced about 0.6 million tons of grams/pulses sown over 3 million acres of land due to timely rains and conducive weather conditions. However termite disease has hit crops in rain-fed areas that might reduce per acre yield of various crops.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological department has said that very cold to frosty and mainly dry to partly cloudy weather is expected over most parts of the country with scattered foggy/misty conditions in plain areas of Peshawar division, Punjab and upper Sindh today (Monday). However, isolated thunder-rain with light to moderate snowfall over the hills is likely to occur over Khurrum agency, Malakand, Hazara, Quetta divisions, Gilgit-Baltistan and adjoining areas of Kashmir.
It further said that cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country during next 48 hours. However, partly cloudy weather with light rain is expected at one or two places of Malakand division and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Weather remained very cold and dry in most parts of the country on Sunday. However light rain occurred at one to two places of Malakand division and Kashmir Coldest places in the country were: Kalat -11°C, Parachinar -09°C, Skardu-08°C, Astore, Hunza, Gupis-07°C, Quetta, M Jabba-06°C, Gilgit and Kalam -05°C.