Negligible increase in wheat acreage predicted.

LAHORE -- The Growers Survey of Punjab, an exercise carried out by the Crop Reporting Service, predicts that the province would end up at almost identical wheat acreage, as it had last year, with a slight increase of 0.2 per cent.

Last year, Punjab had sown wheat on 16.210 million acres, and this year it might end up at 16.249m acres. The rain-fed (barani) areas might see one per cent increase in areas: from 1.491m acres to 1.511m acres.

Out of expected 16.249m acres, the Punjab had sown 8.914m acres - around 55pc of the area - by Nov 15, when the survey completed. Last year, the province had achieved 28pc of sowing by the same date. In rain-fed areas, the sowing figure had hit 86pc, with 1.3m acres already sown.

The Punjab government had set a target of cultivating wheat on 16.5m acres this year, with a production target of 21 million metric tonne- from per acre production target of 31.82 maunds. In order to achieve the target, the provincial government is providing free seeds of selected varieties of wheat. In some other areas, 900,000 bags of certified seeds of selected varieties are being provided at Rs1,200 per bag and herbicides subsidy. Apart from this, the support price of wheat was increased up to Rs3,000 per 40 kg before the sowing of wheat so that the cultivation can be made profitable for the farmers.

Abad Khan, a farmer from southern Punjab...

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