93rd meeting of FCA held
By: Yasir Ilyas
ISLAMABAD, November 1, 2010: The 93rd meeting of the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) was held on 1st November 2010. The meeting was chaired by Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture and attended by Ali Ahmed Aulakh, Minister for Agriculture Punjab and Secretaries of Provincial Agriculture Departments, Azad Jammu and Kashmir AJK and other high officials of various attached departments were present in the meeting.
The Committee reviewed the status of production of Kharif Crops 2010-11 (Cotton, Rice, Sugarcane etc), losses from the flood, meteorological conditions, irrigation water availability, agricultural inputs status (Agricultural credit, Machinery, Fertilizers, Seeds, Pesticides etc.) and crop targets for the Rabi crops (wheat, gram, lentil etc.) 2010-11 were fixed.
The committee also reviewed crop losses due to flood during 2010 to cotton, sugarcane, paddy and other crops were estimated at Rs.281.633 billion. Government took reasonable steps to support farming communities in the farm of Watan Cards, financial support @ Rs.2400/acre up to limit of 12.5 acres and subsidy on the interest of agriculture loan @ 8% up to limit of 25 acres. Some of the important findings of the meetings are as following.
The latest cotton production estimates of approximately 11 million bales against the targets of 14 million bales for the year 2010-11 with the domestic requirement of 15 million bales.
The “Cotton Crop Assessment Committee” was directed to meet immediately to revisit and finalize the first estimates in view of present arrivals.
Rice production estimates for the year 2010-11 were 5.95 million tons against the target of 6.18 million tons and against the domestic requirement of 2.5 million tones.
The provinces informed that due to flood two million tons of Coarse and fine varieties may not be available and their production may fall to 4.2 million tons. To further clarify about 1.8 million tons of coarse rice and about two million of fine rice was affected due to flood.
Sugarcane production estimates for the year 2010-11 were set at 54 million tons against the target of 53.69 million tons.
Provinces informed that flood affected the sugarcane crop and its production may not match the target. The sugar production may fall at 3.2 million tones against the earlier estimates of 3.0 million tons.
Maize production estimates for the year 2010-11 were set at 3.5 million tons with similar requirement.
Mung production estimates for the year 2010-11 were set at 159 thousand tons as against requirement of 106 thousand tons. The provinces confirmed the production 80,000 tons.
Mash production estimates for the year 2010-11 were set at 15,000 against requirement of 45,000 tons. The Provinces confirmed 10,000 tons.
Chilies production estimates for the year 2010-11 were set at 159,000 tons. The Provinces confirmed 150,000 tons.
Besides it committee also reviewed the target set for the production of certain crops in the Pakistan for the Kharif as well as Rabi season.
Wheat production target fixed for the year 2010-11 were 25 million tons against the domestic requirement of 23.5 million tons.
Potato production target was fixed at 2.94 million tons against the requirement of 1.7 million tons. Onion production target was fixed at 1.82 million tons against the requirement of 1500 thousand tons.
Gram production target was fixed at 619 thousand tons against the requirement of 600 metric tons. Lentil production target was fixed at 14 thousand tons against the requirement of 50 metric tons.
The minister directed the provinces to devise appropriate policy/strategy for promotion of pulses (Gram & Lentil) cultivation in their respective province.
Metrological conditions for healthy production, was also on the agenda. For the Rabi season 2010-11, dry season was forecasted during the months of November and December while normal precipitation was expected during January to March 2011. The forecast was encouraging for the Rabi season crops.
Minister directed the Met. Department to release a package of information containing next season forecast in detail for farmers of different areas of the country.
Climate change scenario was an established phenomenon for which the researchers were stressed to develop varieties against drought, high temperature and excessive rainfall.
Status of Agricultural Inputs, in various regards was also determined. During 2009-10, total disbursement by the State Bank of Pakistan was Rs.248 billion which were 95% of the total allocation. ZTBL was directed to immediately arrange a limit of Rs.120 million for promotion of canola cultivation in 17 flood affected districts.
Matters of the irrigation were also there on the agenda list of the meeting. As reported by IRSA, total anticipated availability of water for the season is 32.17 Million Acre Feet (MAF) against 25.52 MAF of the last year. Sufficient water was reported to be available to meet all future indents and there shall be no shortage of irrigation water if the prevailing trend continuous.
Certain other factors like fertilization of crops were also discussed. Total availability of urea fertilizer will be 3.4 million tons that is sufficient to meet the local requirement. Total availability of DAP fertilizer for the season is 799,000 tons against the local requirement of 670,000 tons. Availability position of DAP is quite comfortable. Local production of DAP is estimated as 324 thousand tons with carry forward stock 419 thousand tons.
The Minister directed the provinces to negotiate with fertilizer companies to device a price stipulation mechanism of DAP fertilizer in the country.
Availability of seeds was another major area of concern. Sufficient availability of wheat, gram, lentil, oil seeds and fodder seeds was reported for the forth coming Rabi season. Wheat seed availability was 729,000 tons which is 67% of the total wheat seed requirement (1085,000 tons).
IRRI seed availability was 18000 tons which is 100% of the total IRRI seed requirement while availability of fine varieties was 40% of the total requirement.
Provinces were directed to lift wheat seed from Punjab province for planting in the flood affected areas. They were also directed to manage the wheat seed for non flood area at their own arrangements.
Availability of Pesticides:
As informed by the Department of Plant Protection sufficient quantity of quality pesticides and weedicides was available in the country and pest situation (including locust) was under control.