MULTAN – Climate change is affecting production of sugarcane and there is dire need to develop such varieties as could have resistant against the climate change.

Professor Dr. Aaleem Ahmed Khan, a teacher at Environmental Science Department, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan told APP here on Sunday that climate change posed a serious threat to sugarcane crop.

He stated that the farmers were not aware of impact of the climate changes and they must be educated in this regard.

He suggested farmers not to feed sugarcane crop during extreme summer or winter season as the crop remained under stress and could not avail maximum benefits of fertilizers. When temperature is between 15 degrees centigrade to 30 degrees centigrade, the farmers should feed fertilizers to crop for bumper production and full of maximum sugar content. The sugarcane crop improved its height one inch on each day, informed Dr. Aaleem.

He also proposed farmers not to throw granules directly in sugarcane crop but to mix it in irrigation water. The mixing of granules in irrigation water would be more beneficial. The direct throwing of granules in sugarcane field hurt wildlife as the birds pick the poisonous chemical and died.

Dr. Aaleem observed that government should spent amounts on capacity building of sugarcane scientists and arrange maximum foreign tours for exchange of expertise with scientists of other countries.

In Pakistan, usually, our scientists import sugarcane seed named as “fuzz” and then this fuzz undergo trials at different locations in the country. He proposed that sugarcane research institutes should be improved on modern lines for preparation of climatic change resistant varieties otherwise country’s sugarcane farmers and industry would suffer in future.

President Kissan Ittehad (Khanewal) Ramzan Jheed informed APP that the sugarcane farmers were already frustrated due to shortage of production this year. He remarked that the farmers were not taking interest in cultivation of sugarcane which also resulted into decrease in cultivation area.

He stated that government should take steps to ensure reasonable and timely return of payment to farmers against their produce from sugar mills owners otherwise there would be crisis of sugar in the country.

He also suggested improvement of research institute for preparation of high yielding and less water consumption varieties to address upcoming challenges to sugarcane crop. He also suggested proper monitoring of scales of sugar-mills so that no one could exploit innocent farmers by allegedly decreasing weights of the sugarcane trolley.

Meanwhile, the recent wet spell will augur well for various crops including orchards in south Punjab.

Assistant Director Agriculture Information Naveed Asmat Kohloon while talking to APP here on Sunday said that the rain would have positive impact on wheat, sugarcane, maize, vegetables, mango orchards and some other fodder crops.

Due to lack of rain in south Punjab in near past, the region was surrounded by environmental pollution and the dust particles, hovering in the environment, were faced with different issues. The process of photosynthesis had gone affected due to dust on leaves. The crops were with greater demand of rain, he added.

He termed recent rain as vital to infuse new life in agriculture. Similarly, the rain also provided nitrogen to the crops as nitrogen was present in atmosphere.

He however urged farmers to take care of weeds because the rain would grow also weeds. Although, rain would improve fruiting to mango orchards but there was threat of bacterial infection and anthracnose, he told. Black spots could emerge on mango leaves. In case of attack, the farmers should spray 250 grams copper hydroxide by mixing it in water, he advised.

He also urged farmers to contact agriculture department in case of any issues in this regard.

ISLAMABAD: Punjab government has started a program to provide fifty percent subsidy for installation of tunnel on three thousand acres of land under Khadim-e-Kissan package.

Talking to Radio Pakistan, a spokesman of the Agriculture department said the yield of vegetables including cucumber, capsicum, bitter gourd and others can be promoted through tunnel farming.

He said Punjab government is also providing sixty percent subsidy on drip irrigation system.

The spokesman said the government has banned the import of tomato for protecting the financial interests of local farmers.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), in a meeting chaired by Finance Adviser Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday, increased minimum support price for wheat by Rs50 to Rs1,350 in order to safeguard growers’ interests.

The increase comes after a gap of five years, as the government last raised wheat support prices by Rs100 to Rs1,300 for 40kg bags back in 2014.

Although, the move will benefit local wheat growers, it is expected to push up prices of roti which have already increased two times in the last twelve months owing to rising flour and gas prices.

However, a Ministry of Food Security official claimed the new minimum support price would not translate in any increase in the price of roti. He said the minimum price will help farmers cover rising input costs.

He said the minimum support will encourage wheat production in the country while adding that the revised price is also lower than the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) official rate of Rs1,375 on which wheat is being released to provinces.

The ECC meeting also reviewed various factors such as the global wheat situation, cost of production, export-import parity and domestic producer prices.

It was estimated that the cost of production of wheat had risen in 2019-20 to Rs1,349.57 per 40kg in Punjab and Rs1,315.72 per 40kg in Sindh, as per findings of the Agriculture Policy Institute.

The meeting was also told that the global wheat price hovers around Rs1,575 per 40kg and Rs1,440 per 40kg excluding duties.

The ECC also asked the Ministry of Food Security to approach provinces to make adequate wheat procurement in the coming season. In case of failure to procure stocks, any request by provinces to PASSCO would entail 100 per cent payment of incidental charges.

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The ECC also asked the ministry to invite provincial chief secretaries or their representatives in the next meeting for a detailed presentation on the rising circular debt on the commodity operation which had already crossed Rs450 billion.

On the proposal of Rs6bn PM Relief Package for Utility Stores Corporation (USC), the ECC approved a transfer of Rs4bn from the Benazir Income Support Program and another Rs2bn by the Finance Division for provision of essential commodities such as flour, sugar, ghee, rice and pulses at a fair price to the under-privileged sections of the society.

A high-powered committee led by the Adviser to PM on Commerce Razak Dawood has been advised to come up with a realistic and foolproof method involving use of IT to ensure poorest of the poor benefit from the scheme and subsidy by purchasing essential items from the 3,600 utility stores spread across the country.

 

The ECC also approved release of 200,000 tons of wheat at the rate of Rs1,375 per 40kg from the PASSCO stocks to the USC to compensate vulnerable segments of the society and discourage hoarding and profiteering. The financial implications of Rs1.314bn on account of price differential and incidental charges will be absorbed by the Finance Division.

A committee was constituted to look into the issues related to utilities, particularly the installation of gas connections, electricity and other facilities in the Special Economic Zones. The committee was tasked to submit proposals in the next meeting.

The ECC approved the proposal for execution of amendment to the implementation agreement governing Thal Nova Power Private Limited and Thar Energy Limited by increasing the time period for exercise of the government’s right to terminate both projects from 400 days to 490 days.

However, the ECC directed the Cabinet Division to take further input from the Planning Division and bring the matter back to the ECC if there were substantive and fundamental issues requiring further discussion and any change in the approval.

The ECC also approved a detailed proposal based on a comprehensive four-year Circular Debt Capping Plan of the Power Division to address the flow of circular debt through effective efficiency improvement measures and ensure an effective implementation of the National Electricity Policy 2019.

The plan, which mainly addresses sector inefficiencies, discrepancies in tariff regime, fiscal allocations and government policy measures, planning and debt servicing of Power Holding Private Limited Loans, would improve power distribution collection, 100pc collection by five distribution companies, reduce line losses, rationalize subsidy allocations, reduce running and permanent defaulters and power sector flows to less than Rs75bn per annum from the current level of Rs465bn per annum.

The ECC also approved a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Interior for release funds through a technical supplementary grant to the tune of Rs670.553 million to HQ Frontier Corps KP (North) Peshawar for the completion of laid down codal, financial, procedural and legal formalities for various Project Implementation Letters, including the upgradation of FC KP (North) training center at Warsak Peshawar and construction of FATA Levies Training Centre at Shakas and 10 extra FATA Levies check posts.

ISLAMABAD – Punjab Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhry has said that the data of some 8.7 million cattle farmers in the province has been computerized so far. Some 58.3 per cent of the agricultural centers across the province were livestock centers, he said while talking to Radio Pakistan.

The government, he said, wanted to introduce reforms in the food sector aiming at eliminating corruption from the department. The reforms would pertain to the subsidy given to wheat growers first at the time of the procurement of their produce and later on releasing the commodity from the government’s Godowns, he added.

Seed cotton (Phutti) equivalent to 10.777 million bales have reached ginneries across Pakistan till May 1, 2019, registering a shortfall by 6.94 per cent compared to corresponding period of last year.

Out of total arrivals, over 10.777 million bales have undergone the ginning process, says a fortnightly report of the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) issued here Friday.

Arrivals in Punjab were recorded at over 6.628 million bales showing a shortfall by 9.55 per cent and over 4 million bales in Sindh registering 2.45 per cent shortfall compared to corresponding period of last year.

Total sold out bales were recorded at over 10.25 million bales including over 10 million bales bought by textile mills and another 103,540 bales purchased by exporters.

Exactly 522,626 bales were still lying with the ginneries as unsold stock. Sanghar district of Sindh continued to remain on top with cotton arrival figures of over 1.28 million bales while Rahimyar Khan district of Punjab secured second berth with arrival figure of 1.19 million bales and Bahawalnagar stood third with just over a million bales.

The statistics show the shortfall was witnessed in 25 cotton districts out of total 32 including 18 out of total 21 in Punjab and seven out of total eleven cotton districts in Sindh.

Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahimyar Khan districts of Punjab and Nawabshah, Khairpur, Ghotki, and Sukkur districts of Sindh besides Balochistan witnessed surge in cotton arrivals, says the report. The report does not include cotton figures from districts of Kasur, and Sargodha. Only three ginning factories were now operational in the country including two in Punjab and one in Sindh.