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    Agriculture

    Paktika wheat production drops by half

    SHARANA (PAN): Wheat production in the southeastern province of Paktika province has decreased by 50 percent this year due to lack of water and good seeds, officials and farmers said.

    Yaro, a Sharan City farmer, said that his 10 acres of land, which had yielded 10,500 kilograms of wheat last year, had produced 4,999 kg of wheat this year.

    “If we used generators to irrigate our crops, our expenses would surpass our income, because fuel prices were high this year,” he said.

    Yaqub, a resident of the Ata Gul Kala area outside Sharan City, said that his wheat crops had been damaged by windstorms and lack of water in the province.

    He criticized the government for distributing improved wheat seeds and chemical fertilizer too late, after farmers had already planted their crops. He said he got only 2,800 kg of wheat from his land this year. The same land yielded 4,800 kg of wheat last year.

    Hamidullah Tokhi, Director of the Agriculture Department, said the department did not distribute chemical fertilizers and improved wheat seeds to farmers on time because the central government did not send them on time.

    Abdul Ghani, the provincial council secretary from the Dwazikhwa distict, said that the drop in wheat production was partly a result of lack of rainfall in the area. 

    An agriculture expert, Husain, said that the farmers’ poverty, combined with soaring fuel costs, lack of improved seeds, wind, lack of water, and government inattention had caused the drop in wheat production.

    The agriculture department chief said that a feasibility study for two water dams had been carried out. The dams are part of the five-year development plan, he said.

    He said the department would try to supply seeds, fertilizers and other necessary materials to farmers on time.

    myn/kg



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