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Sunday May 26, 2024

Wheat production to top28 million tonnes in 2022-23

By Munawar Hasan
June 10, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan's wheat production is set to top 28 million tonnes in the 2022-23 fiscal year, the finance minister said on Friday, beating official estimates by a big margin. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said in his budget speech that the bumper crop was due to favorable weather conditions and government support to farmers. “Despite the ravages of floods, the agricultural sector has grown at a rate of 1.5 percent. The bumper crop of wheat has resulted in production of more than 28 million tonnes and the income of farmers has increased. 1,500 to 2,000 billion rupees have been transferred to our rural economy. This will have a positive impact on the overall economy of the country,” Dar said. Earlier on April 12, 2023, the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) assessed the size of wheat production at 26.81 million tonnes. According to meeting minutes of the body, the committee was informed that the domestic wheat production during the 2022-23 crop year has been estimated as 26.8 million tonnes, from an area of 9.0 million hectares, which is an increase of 1.6 percent over the last year of 26.39 million tonnes.

However, a day before the FCA meeting, The News projected an increase in wheat production up to 28 million tonnes. “Despite weather-related adversities, wheat growers have been reaping a surprisingly high output in South Punjab, a major food basket, stoking prospects of plenteous produce on the provincial level if a similar trend continues in the central parts of the province as well,” The News reported while quoting initial estimates from the farm level. According to the analysis, reports pouring in from South Punjab suggest well above-average wheat output, right from Rajanpur in the southwestern stretch to Bahawalnagar in the south-eastern belt. Many farmers are reporting yields of more than 50 maunds per acre, compared to the national average of 32 maunds. Such a turnaround in wheat projections shows how wheat plants miraculously withstood wet-weather-related damages to the crop, thanks to consistently cool temperatures and bright sunny days.

The April 11, 2023 report concludes with the remarks that “on a national level, the likelihood of producing close to 28 million metric tonnes of wheat has not been out of sight.” With enhanced wheat production, according to market insiders, wheat imports for 2023-24 may be reduced by 1.5 million tonnes, settling around two million tonnes. The greater size of crop also helps in stabilizing the highly volatile grain market, providing much relief to the consumers. As per latest estimates of a bigger-than-estimate production of wheat, Punjab is now projected to harvest over 21 million tonnes of wheat for the first time, surpassing the official production target of 21 million tonnes for 2023-24. At the national level, the earlier biggest volume of wheat output at the national level was recorded in the financial year 2020-21 when the country produced 27.46 million tonnes.