No bumper wheat crop this season, says chief statistician

ISLAMABAD: The country’s wheat output is set to miss the target of 26 million tonnes during the current Rabi season, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa said on Saturday, as none of the provinces have reported bumper crop.

Based on the figures provided by provinces, the crop size would touch 25.4m tonnes by the end of this season, Mr Bajwa told a news conference. “We faithfully respect the data supplied by the provinces.”

On GDP growth, he said the 4.71 per cent rise in the size of the economy was calculated based on the three sectors. While the agriculture sector declined by 0.19pc, the industrial and service sectors grew 6.8pc and 5.71pc.

A shortfall of around four million bales in the cotton production this season alone had an impact of half a percentage point on the overall GDP growth, he said. “A decline in the commodity’s output does not only hurt the agricultural growth rate, it also affects industry and service sectors,” he explained.

Moreover, rice production has also dropped 2.7pc year-on-year to 6.8m tonnes this year, he said.

The 6.8pc growth in the industrial sector came mainly due to increase in oil and gas production and growth in coal and other minerals. However, the production of crude oil fell 8.2pc.

He attributed the growth of minerals to improved law and order, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

According to data provided by provinces, the production of gypsum and limestone has significantly increased, he said.

The chief statistician ex­­plained that gone were the days government used to fudge data to improve their credibility. “Our hands are tied now. The PBS cannot change the methodology which is done as per internationally accepted practices.”