LAHORE: Wheat production is feared to fall short of 10 to 15 percent of the estimate this year as rains may become a bane for standing crop during crucial maturity stage in Punjab, according to experts.
Anticipating damage to plants from rain, hailstorm and gusty winds, an official said two to four percent damage to wheat crop could be due to natural calamity during last 24 hours. A strip in Lodhran spreading about 12 kilometers long and two kilometers wide has been extensively damaged due to intense hailstorm, he told over phone after a visit around Lodhran district. Losses could be as high as 30 to 40 percent of cropped area, he added.
Ejaz Rao, a progressive farmer from Bahawalpur said 10 to 15 percent area of South Punjab was directly hit by the inclement weather and resultant damages could break backbone of growers. It is really hard to see mile after miles wheat crop flattening on ground due to lodging. The 20 to 30 percent lot of this crop could be lost, he observed. Besides, he added, losses to tunnel farmers was also extreme in patches not only to tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber but to the infrastructure, inflicting heavy losses under the head of capital cost.
Moreover, he said two to five percent wheat grain quality could be compromised from early to mid-March due to early warm to hot days in South. The government expects this year wheat production at 26.2 million tons — one million tons more than the previous year’s production. According to meteorological office, a strong westerly wave is affecting the upper and central parts of the country and may persist in upper parts from Sunday to Wednesday.
Rain wind-thunderstorm recorded in widespread rains, intense hailstorm and gusty winds and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad. Hailstorm is reported at a few places, while heavy fall is also registered in upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir during the period.
During the past 24-hour, rain-thunderstorm occurred in many parts of Punjab. Toba Tek Singh recorded 68 millimeters, Murree 35, Faisalabad 33, Attock, Khanewal 30, Zero point 28, Saidpur, Golra 27, Bokra 26, Airport 22, Bhakkar 28, Hafizabad 27, Sargodha 26, Noorpur Thal 25, Jhelum 24, Mangla 22, Shamsabad 23, Chaklala 20, Bahawalpur Airport 20, Multan Airport 18, Gujarat 14, Sialkot Airport 12, , Mandi Bahauddin 12, Sahiwal 11, Narowal 12, Layyah 9, Khanpur 7, Lahore 7, Rahim Yar Khan 6, DG Khan 5, and Okara 3