July 31, 2013 FAZAL SHER
The current monsoon rains would have a positive impact on agriculture production and is likely to increase production of major Kharif crops including rice and sugarcane in the country. According to senior officials of the Ministry of Food Security and Research Pakistan, production of major Kharif crops may increase as the more the water the higher the output.
However, he said that heavy rains may negatively impact on production of cotton in the country as heavy rains or above normal rains lead to various diseases in the cotton crop and a large quantity of water does not benefit cotton yields. The official further revealed that sugarcane was sown on an area of 2.3 million acres, rice on an area of 5 million acres and cotton was sown on 7.4 million acres in the current year. The government has set the target of 65 million tons of sugar cane, 4.3 million bales of cotton and 6 million tons of rice for the current fiscal year.
Dr Arif Mahmood of Pakistan Metrological Department (Met) when contacted said that monsoon rains are likely to be normal and it would have a positive impact on agriculture production. Quoting Met office forecast for the current monsoon season, he said that this year monsoon rains are likely to be normal in the country, which means the overall availability of water in the country from monsoon rains would be satisfactory.
He said that rainfall will increase gradually during the month of August over central parts of the country. However, he said that during last phase of monsoon rainfall (September) more than normal rainfall will occur over plain areas of Punjab and Sindh.
He also said that the current spell of rain is good for rice and sugarcane. However, heavy rains may negatively affect cotton crop therefore growers and agriculture extension department in the country need to take precautionary measures to protect the cotton fields for better production of cotton. Chairman Pakistan Agri-Forum Ibrahim Mughal concurred and stated that the recent monsoon rains would be beneficial for rice and sugarcane crops but heavy rainfall may have negative affect on cotton production.