LAHORE: Prevailing moisture and a spell of rain in the south of Punjab has caused delays in the wheat procurement process in the province, while now tentatively start after April 25, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The procurement drive was scheduled from April 15 in the province, but was delayed for 10 days owing to weather changes and moisture in the climate, an official of the food department has said.
The Punjab government fixed a wheat procurement target of 3.5 million metric tons (MMT) for 2012 at a support price of Rs1,050 per 40 kilograms.
The food department set up 375 procurement centers across the province for this purpose and necessary arrangements had been made, an official said.
Due to a sudden climate change, southern Punjab has experienced a spell of rain that started during last week. Harvesting in Rehim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur was expected during the second week of April, but owing to rains the crop fields became wet, necessitating a halt, said Gulam Nabi Numberdar of Dera Bakha district Bahawalpur.
Wheat crop that has been affected by moisture cannot be hushed, he pointed out. “Even harvesting has been suspended as the land has become wet,” Nabi informed. “Sunny days are expected in the next week, and harvesting will resume at full swing,” he added.
Irfan Elahi, secretary Food Department Punjab, confirmed that the procurement process was delayed owing to changes in weather. “The department had completed all procurement arrangements to fetch the targeted quantity before April 15. The distribution of gunny bags had been completed and officials were ready to procure wheat,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.