Agri Forum Pakistan (AFP) has predicted a loss of 1.5 million to 2 million tons in the production of Rabi crops including wheat, gram, canola, sunflower and others due to decrease in area under sowing. Decrease in area under sowing of different crops, less application of fertilisers, non-availability of quality seed and lethargic attitude of the agriculture department is ruining the farming sector of Punjab.
This was alleged by the AFP Chairman Muhammad Ibrahim Mughal while talking to media here on Wednesday. He claimed that the department had set a target of bringing 16.8 million acres of land under wheat cultivation this year with production target at 19.2 million tons.
Unfortunately because of apathy of the provincial department and the Punjab agriculture minister, target of area under sowing remained short of 700,000 acres which may result in less production of one million tons of wheat, Mughal alleged. He said that decrease in usage of agricultural inputs had also brought down the growth in the farming sector to 3 percent only which could have been easily taken to 6 per cent. It will add to poverty, unemployment and price hike in the province, Agri Forum alleged.
Mughal stressed the need for revamping the provincial agricultural department on latest lines so as the province which was lagging in agricultural development as compared to Sindh could be brought at par with it. He alleged that the employees of the agricultural department were doing their own personal business by joining hands with private companies that was why province was not able to achieve production target in cotton, rice of wheat crops.
He also accused the Chief Minister Punjab for not taking interest in agricultural sector and claimed that such policies were formed which was not in line with the ground realities. That was why we had a shortfall in the production of cotton crop while province may suffer a loss of Rs 60-70 billion in the coming wheat crop. He said there was a need to develop agricultural on latest scientific lines to make it a profitable business. He said that role of middle men should be abolished and practical steps should be taken for this sector.