India 'Stealing Water' From Pakistan - Affecting Wheat Crop

There's never been a lot of love lost between Pakistan and neighbouring India, now the former is accusing the latter of stealing it's water.

Pakistan's 2010 wheat crop could be cut to around 19-20 MMT, from a government target of 25 MMT and 2009's production of 24 MMT, say analysts.

The reason for the reduction is India cutting up to 50 per cent of the water flow in the Chenab River, putting wheat crops in Punjab at stake, says Pakistani daily The Nation.

The Indian construction of the controversial Baglihar Dam in Occupied Kashmir has caused the closure of three Pakistani canals which met 75 percent of the canal water requirement of Punjab, says the Pakistan President.

Punjab provides around three quarters of Pakistan's wheat crop which is harvested in April/May. Despite winter wheat plantings being seen up 30 percent in irrigated areas, yields could be significantly reduced due to lack of water in the main feeder canals, say experts.

Below normal winter rains have led to a 20 percent decline in land under wheat cultivation in non-irrigated areas this winter, say the Agriculture Ministry.

Despite lower production, imports are unlikely before early 2011 as the country has sufficient carryover stocks, traders said on Wednesday.