May 31, 2013


Pakistan to miss wheat production target by 2.2 million tonnes


Pakistan produced a total of 22.8 million tonnes of wheat in the on-going fiscal year 2013, 2.2 million tonnes lower than the set target of 25 million tonnes for the year.


This was announced by the Agri forum of Pakistan (AFP) on Wednesday (May 29)


"The wheat production shortfall was mainly booked from the province of Punjab that harvested mere 17.5 million tonnes against its initial target of 19.2 million tonnes - showing a deficit of 1.7 million tonnes," M Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of AFP, told the newspapers. He said that the decline in the production in the province was a result of poor planning and wrong estimations by the Directorate of Agriculture, Crop Reporting Service-Punjab since the sowing.


"The directorate had estimated to produce 18.6 million tonnes wheat in the year against the target of 19.2 million tonnes," he said, "On the contrary, the AFP has warned the directorate and other concerned officials in the government in March-end that Punjab could produce not more than 17.8 million tonnes of wheat during the year."


He said that the AFP was giving its independent estimates after conducting a survey. The forum has deployed 75 people in the province to conduct the survey. However, "the officials of the directorate were giving false estimates to please the secretary agriculture." He said that the province produced lower wheat due to late sowing, water shortage, lower use of fertiliser, and increase in cost of production of other inputs. Besides, the province of Sindh produced about 3.1 million tonnes wheat against its target of 3.2 million tonnes; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa produced 1.2 million tonnes against a target of 1.6 million tonnes; and Balochistan produced 800,000 tonnes wheat against the target of one million tonne, he said.


As per the information provided by the forum, Pakistan is required to produce 26 million tonnes wheat per annum to remain self-sufficient. Out of this, 23 million tonnes wheat is required for human consumption, 1.5 million tonnes for seeding, while another 1.5 million tonnes is wasted by the time it reached markets and flour mills.


As per the formula constituted by the United Nation for measuring the consumption of wheat, Pakistan will need about 22 million tonnes wheat for human consumption. The UN says every person of the world consumes on an average 120 kilogrammes of wheat in a year. Multiplying 120 kilogrammes to 180 million population of Pakistan, the annual human consumption in the country comes around 22 million tonnes, it adds.


Meanwhile, with the addition of 500,000 tonnes carryover stock from the previous year, the county is now having a total of 23.3 million tonnes wheat available for the year, Mughal said.


He, however, painted a bleak picture going ahead, saying the food procurement departments of provinces and the federal wheat procurement agency have so far procured only 5.5 million tonnes wheat against the set target of 7.1 million tonnes for the year.