Pakistan to Miss Wheat Production Target as Heavy Rains and Crop Substitution Take Their Toll

Pakistan is set to miss its wheat production target for the current fiscal year, with officials forecasting a shortfall of 1.7 million tonnes due to heavy rains and crop substitution. Wheat production is expected to be around 26.7 million tonnes, compared to the target of 28.4 million tonnes. Climate change and farmers planting crops that are more profitable than wheat have also affected production.

There are fears of a wheat shortage in the next fiscal year, leading to an increase in imports. The country is already facing a severe dollar liquidity crunch, making it harder to import the 3-3.5 million tonnes of wheat that officials say will be needed to meet domestic and Afghanistan’s requirements. This is more than the current year’s import target of 2.6 million tonnes.

While wheat sowing in Sindh exceeded targets, only 97.17% of the sowing target was achieved in Punjab, where farmers are increasingly planting oil seeds instead. Balochistan achieved only 77.21% of its wheat sowing target, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa achieved 87.07%.

With the anticipated wheat production hovering around 26 million tonnes, officials warn that the government will have to import at least 3.5-4 million tonnes of wheat in the next financial year, despite the dollar crisis. The situation is made worse by the Met office forecasting heatwaves in March, April, and May 2023, which could negatively impact production by 10-12%. One million tonnes of wheat are also required for Afghanistan.

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