March 25, 2013
Pakistan sees wheat output at 26.2 million tonnes
A record bumper 26.2 million tonnes of wheat production this season was estimated by the Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (Suparco), with the Punjab topping 19.513 million tonnes.
In its latest Rabi crop estimates, the commission claimed that as far as 2012-13 wheat crop is concerned, the satellite based crop data indicate that it is spectacular on account of multiple factors.
Some of these include abundant supplies of phosphate fertilisers and well distributed rains (nine times during December to February period).
The phosphates in plant systems are responsible for growth and proliferation of root system allowing better moisture absorption and the formation of starches, emboldening grain size and weight, leading to an increase in crop yield.
The rains covered the critical wheat growth stages of tilling, booting, flagging, earring, grain filling and maturity in some areas. Given all these positive developments, Pakistan will be harvesting a bumper crop of wheat this year.
The projection is a combined result of information on area sown under wheat crop is based on satellite image classification drawn from five-metre-resolution satellite imagery. These data are validated by a referral area frame system.
The crop production estimates are based on a modulator approach of three factors: temporal crop growth measured by satellite systems, agro-met factors (rainfall, temperatures max/min and sunshine duration), irrigation water withdrawal from the canal head works, fertiliser off take, satellite image values (NDVI) and historic crop yields-crop cut data.
The ground surveys were carried out by joint teams of the SUPARCO and Crop Reporting wings of the provinces during the months of January and February in all provinces.
The phosphate fertiliser availability during these critical timelines of sowing months between October-December was 0.313 million nutrient tonnes during 2012 against 0.262 million nutrient tonnes during corresponding months of 2011, up by 19.7%. The nitrogen supply in terms of nutrient tonnes was 2.465 million tonnes during October 2012-February 2013 against 2.519 million nutrient tonnes during same timelines during last Rabi season, down by 2.1%.
The irrigation water supplies in Punjab and Balochistan decreased. The current season's irrigation water supply in Punjab decreased by 7.5% during last Rabi season. The effect of shortage was more pronounced in Jhelum-Chenab (-11.33%) than Indus zone of the Province (-2.50%).
The shortfall in irrigation water supply was generally supplemented by frequent and well spread out rains, the commission said.