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Punjab sets rice cultivation target

LAHORE: In a significant move to enhance rice production, the Punjab government has announced a target of cultivating rice across 5 million acres of land this year.

Secretary of Agriculture Iftikhar Ali Sahoo unveiled this plan during the inaugural meeting of the Rice Management Group held at the Civil Secretariat on Wednesday.

Secretary Sahoo emphasized utilizing all available resources to achieve this production milestone. He highlighted that rice caters to the nation’s population’s nutritional needs and serves as a crucial source of foreign exchange earnings.

During the meeting, it was revealed that rice cultivation in Punjab witnessed a notable increase of 6.7% over the past three years. In the fiscal year 2022-23, rice was cultivated over an area of 5.4 million acres, resulting in a production yield of 5.57 million tons. Pakistan generated $3.05 million in foreign exchange by exporting 4.87 million tons of rice.

To support the national plan for increasing rice production per acre, the Punjab government has introduced subsidies for registered farmers. A subsidy of Rs1500 per bag is provided for Basmati varieties, while Rs1000 per bag is offered for non-Basmati varieties.

Additionally, the government grants Rs30,000 per acre for cultivating demonstration plots in selected districts of Punjab. Modern machinery is being provided to progressive farmers and service providers in designated districts to promote mechanized agriculture and make effective use of paddy residue.

The Secretary further directed the availability of standardized agricultural inputs in the market during the paddy cultivation season. He emphasized the cancellation of licenses and agencies of dealers selling non-standard agricultural inputs. The meeting also stressed the need for special measures to boost paddy exports.

Prominent figures present at the meeting included Additional Secretary Agriculture Task Force Punjab Muhammad Shabir Ahmed Khan, Director General Agriculture Extension Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali, Chief Scientist Ayub Agricultural Research Institute Faisalabad Dr Muhammad Akhtar, Director General Agriculture Pest Warning Punjab Rana Faqir Ahmed, Principal Scientist Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku Syed Sultan Ali, Director Agricultural Information Punjab Muhammad Rafiq Akhtar, Director Agriculture Adaptive Research Mushtaq Ali, Director Agriculture Extension Gujranwala Javed Akhtar, and Director Agriculture Extension Gujarat Dr Irfanullah, along with progressive farmers from the rice zone.

The Punjab government’s comprehensive strategy aims to significantly enhance rice production, ensuring food security and boosting the economy through increased export potential.

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Published Date: June 8, 2023

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