According to official statistics, the province had sown wheat on around 13 million acres by the end of November.
“The figure is a bit less than last year’s, but the delayed sowing should not make any difference given the mild weather conditions,” says an official of the Punjab Agriculture Department.
He said the weather conditions were almost identical to what second or third weeks of November entail; on an average, the temperature is still above 15 degrees Celsius, which is ideal for germination. So, delayed sowing should not make much difference to germination benchmark, he added.
The provincial planners are also hopeful about the yield given the additional sale by the Punjab Seed Corporation (PSC).
“The corporation has so far sold almost double the volume it normally sells,” claims a PSC official. Though final figures are still being compiled because Punjab is yet to cover around 10pc of its target, its sales digits have already by far surpassed the previous figures. Punjab government itself bought 100,000 seed bags, which it distributed free of cost among farmers.
On top of that, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government also came in a big way. Even private sales have so far been better than last few years’. All these factors raised early hopes about the better performance of the crop this season, of course barring any unfavourable weather conditions, he claimed.
The farmers, however, think that these sales might add to national figures, not provincial one; the PSC sales to other provinces (Balochistan and KP) have gone up hugely this year, but its sales to Punjab, barring the official purchase of 100,000 bags, have largely been the same for the last few years. Its sales might have gone up, but so were its exports to other provinces, they say.
The farmers have also reservations about the effectiveness of the new seed. “It is crucial to know if the PSC raised it as seed or as simple crop,” says Faisal Sukhera from the Pakpattan. The crop husbandry of the seed is different from the normal crop; its fertiliser and irrigation requirements differ – to keep it healthy and robust. One can take chances with crop, but not with seed.
“The corporation gets its seed multiplied by progressive farmers, who are not always up to the mark because most of them are highly influential – that is why they get contracts for multiplication. If they raised it as crop and sold it as seed, the benefit might not be as substantial as being hoped for. Though the PSC has better processing plants, parentage and crop husbandry of the seed remains crucial for its future performance, it has not been clarified yet,” he concluded.
News source: Dawn