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    Agriculture

    Wheat production down by 15pc

    KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan produced 3.3 million tonnes of wheat this year, showing a 15 percent decline, compared to the 2010 yield, an official said on Saturday.

    Last year's wheat production stood at 4.5 million tonnes, including 1.4 tonnes produced in rain-fed areas, a Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation spokesman said,

    Abdul Majeed Qarar told Pajhwok Afghan News and the shortfall of two million tonnes would be met through imports from India and other sources.

    The decrease was a result of fewer rains in the country, he said, adding there was no cause for concern, because a bumper wheat crop was expected in the region.

    "Of the 250,000 tonnes of wheat that India pledged to provide last year, we have received 38,000 tonnes so far. The remaining delivery is in the process," Qarar said. The government has set aside $20 million (afghanis 959,000,000) to support farmers.

    Deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries Khan Jan Alakozay said the shortfall would be covered easily by the private sector, which imported 50,000 thousand tonnes on a daily basis.

    mas/mud