Wheat is a staple food crop of Pakistan, dominating all crops in acreage and production. Wheat accounts for 37.1 % of the crop area, 65 % of the food grain acreage, and 70 % of the production. Mainly grown under irrigated conditions, wheats water requirements range from 20-21 in/acre. The Indus Plains with their favorable topography, rich soil, and good agricultural facilities have a much greater acreage planted to wheat.

In Pakistan, spring wheat is grown as a Rabi crop in the Sindh, Punjab, NWFP, and Balochistan provinces. In the northern parts of Balochistan, some winter wheat is cultivated on a small scale. The wheat-growing area was 8.371 million hectares and production was 18.90 million tons in 1997-80. The major production area is in Punjab (71.17 %), followed by the Sindh province (13.38 %). However, the yield per acre is slightly higher in Sindh (2,410 kg) as compared to Punjab (2,316 kg).

In Punjab, wheat is mostly grown on irrigated land. Wheat production from rainfed areas is about 10 %. However, weather causes year-to-year fluctuations in crop production. Good rainfall means a good wheat crop. For example, 1997­98 had good rainfall, and the production increase in wheat was 48 % in rainfed areas compared with the previous year, whereas increased production in the irrigated areas was only 8.5 %. The production target of wheat for Punjab province for 1998-99 is 16.37 millon tons. To achieve this target, an 18.6 % increase in the present wheat production is required. The target production area is 6,026,500 hectares. The government of the Punjab has provided loans to small farmers; removed the customs duties or sales taxes on combines, harvesters, and other agricultural implements; reduced tractor prices; and increased subsudies to 5,000 small farmers to increase prodution. Additionally, 12.5 acres of land is being distributed to nonlandowning growers . Strict rules against pesticide and fertilizer use and an increase in the support price of wheat are under consideration.

In the Sindh province, wheat is grown mostly on irrigated land. The small portion of unirrigated wheat depends on the retreat of the Indus river flood waters. The provincal government has set a target of 1,103,600 hectares as the production area for the 1998-99 wheat crop. Production has been set at 2,600,000 metric tons, a decrease of 600,000 metric tons.


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