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Jan 01 - 14, 2001

Sugarcane output projected at 60m tons

Keeping in view the future growth of domestic sugar demand the productivity of sugarcane and efficiency of sugar industry, sugarcane production is projected at 60.0 million tonnes by 2010.

This envisages a target of 36.3 million tons for Punjab, 18.5 million tons for Sindh, 5.1 million tons for NWFP and a little less than 0.1 million tons for Balochistan.

According to official sources with the pace of gradual progress self-sufficiency in sugar production can be attained. Even with a medium technology level, these improvements are well within the reach.

However, since sugarcane is a highly water consuming crop, it is necessary that in water scarce zones its cultivation is rather discouraged. Due to limited availability of water in the future, sugarcane area is projected to slightly decline to one million hectares from the present level of 1.06 million hectares.

Even in water abundant areas, more economical use of water on sugarcane is recommended through adoption of modern irrigation techniques such as sprinkler and drip irrigation. Sugarcane policy will focus on high production per unit of land rather than expansion in area.

Moreover, balanced crop nutrition would considerably increase both cane yield and sucrose content. The emphasis will, therefore, be on improving the efficiency of sugar production per unit of irrigation water and reducing the tonnes of cane per tonne of sugar at the mills. This will result in enhancing their profitability and this would be achieved through a realistic quality payment scheme. With high crop yield, the amount of land needed to supply the cane to the mills could be reduced and released for other crops.

'Rice output can be doubled'

Pakistan has the potential to double its rice production with the use of appropriate seed and technology. It was proved by the result of a pilot experimental project, conducted recently by the FAO in collaboration with the Pakistan Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Under the project called "FAO Programme for Food Security in Pakistan", which was carried out on the fields of 112 farmers in Dera Ismail Khan and Daska, the average yield of Basmati reached 3.380 tons per hectare in 1999 and 4.01 tons per hectare in 2000.

The FAO had devised a strategy based on replication of programme interventions at national level with minimum investment, implementation of nationally-tested technologies and revival of Water Users Associations with a view to their transformation into a village organization.

When compared with the benchmark yield for 1998 of 2.668 tons to 3.95 tons of Basmati per hectare and of 1.387 tons as national average for 1999, the project thus registered an increase of 50.3 per cent and 189.1 per cent, respectively, Dr Masood A. Rana, Project Coordinator told on Wednesday.

Cotton arrival

More than 8.6 million bales have arrived at the ginning factories till January 1, showing an increase of 4.88 per cent compared to same period last year.

According to Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) Thursday, the total arrival was estimated at 8.601 million bales against 8.202 million bales last year. This year, the arrival has witnessed an increase of 398,810 bales over last year.

Of the total, textile mills have purchased more than 6.537 million bales while exporters procured 309,347 bales and TCP 10,900 bales.

Liberty Power

Liberty Power Limited, a subsidiary of Tenaga of Malaysia has commenced production of Power from its 235 MW power plant at Dharki located about 70 km from Sukkur.

Liberty Power Limited has invested over 300 million US dollar on this project and was one of the first few companies who amicably settled the tariff issue with WAPDA.

Wheat sowing exceeds target

Wheat crop in Punjab has been sown on 15.126 million acres land during the current Rabi season, exceeding the target by 0.68 percent. According to a report issued by the Agriculture Department on Tuesday, wheat sowing has been completed on 15.126 million acres upto end of December while the target fixed for Punjab province by the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) is 15.024 million acres. The area brought under wheat cultivation during the corresponding period previous rabi season was 15.097 million acres.

Petroleum hike to affect farm sector

Government's decision to raise diesel prices by Rs 3 per litre is bound to increase the cost of production of crops, reduce use of farm inputs and frustrate officials efforts to achieve targeted growth rate of 3.9 per cent in the farm sector this year.

These views were expressed by agriculture ministry's officials on Monday, while talking on the impacts of raise in oil prices on farm sector.

They said, the hike will also lead to atleast 20 per cent increase in the prices of food items, in the local markets as well.

Balochistan to open up coast for investment

The Balochistan Government has decided to open up the entire coastal belt of Mekran and Lasbela for investment, both domestic and foreign. This was stated by Provincial Governor Justice (retired) Amirul Mulk Mengal, while talking to senior editors and bureau chiefs of national dailies at the Governor's Secretariat on Tuesday.

He said that the government would establish a Coastal Development Authority shortly for speedy development of seafood industry, fisheries, agriculture sector and for catering to the needs of the people living in Hub and Jiwani areas.

The governor said that fish harbours at Pasni and Gwadar would be upgraded and brought under the administrative control of the Coastal Development Authority for improving its working.