Pakistan’s wheat production target likely to dip by 1.7 mn tonnes: Report


Pakistan is likely to miss the wheat production target by 1.7 million tonnes for the current fiscal year, reported The News International.

Wheat production is likely to remain around 26.7 million tonnes as against the envisaged wheat production target of 28.4 million tonnes.

Officials said on Friday that wheat production in Punjab is set to witness a major blow during the current fiscal year 2022-23, amid negative impacts of climate change as well as crop substitution, sowing other crops than wheat for profitability, reported The News International.

Besides, there is a looming shortage of wheat in the next fiscal year as well and the government will have to count on the import of wheat in order to meet the domestic requirements of staple food.

The import of wheat is going to witness an upsurge at a time when the country is facing the worst-ever dollar liquidity crunch.

“There will be no other option but to import 3-3.5 million tonnes of wheat for the next fiscal year in order to meet domestic as well as Afghanistan’s requirements. This is more than the import target of 2.6 million tonnes of wheat for the current fiscal year,” top official sources confirmed while talking to The News International.

Moreover, the Met office has forecast heavy rains for two weeks, starting from the third week of March that will affect wheat production.

Even, the anticipated wheat production target falls in the danger zone as recently Met office has shared its forecast with the Ministry of National Food Security & Research that the country might witness different spells of heatwaves within the next three months, including March, April, and May 2023.

The heatwave had negatively impacted wheat production by at least 10 to 12 percent in the last financial year.

Official data available with The News International disclosed that the government had sought a wheat sowing area target of 22.85 million acres in the country for the fiscal year 2022-23, including a sowing target of 16.48 million acres in Punjab.

But only 16.01 million acres could be sown in the province till the latest compiled estimates, witnessing an achievement of 97.17 per cent target.

If the anticipated wheat production remains hovering around 26 million tonnes, the government will have to import at least 3.5 to 4 million tonnes of wheat in the next financial year at a time when the country was passing through a severe dollar liquidity crunch, reported The News International.

This article has been republished from Business Standard