Pakistan’s 2018/19 wheat production estimated at 26.3 million tonnes – USDA

Pakistan’s 2018/2019 wheat production is estimated at 26.3 MMT, 800,000 tons higher than current estimate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA said in a report that growing conditions were generally good and farmers appear to have countered the potential ill effects of unseasonal rains during harvest in some areas.

The Government of Pakistan procured 5.9 MMT of wheat from the recently concluded wheat harvest, three percent lower than the 6.1 MMT target that was announced prior to the onset of harvest and six percent less than the last year’s procurement of 6.28 MMT, the report said.

Procurement appears to have been affected by a new mechanism for releasing gunny bags to farmers in Punjab, it said, adding that many farmers were unaware of the change in policy and missed the dead line for applying for the gunny bags.

“At a procurement price of $310 per metric ton, producers who receive the government support price are among the better compensated wheat growers globally. In spite of lower-than-targeted procurement, the government now holds 10.8 MMT of wheat at the start of the local marketing year, one of the highest beginning stock levels on record,” the report said.

Pakistan’s 2018/19 wheat production is estimated at 26.3 million metric tons (MMT), 800,000 tons higher than current USDA estimate.

Federal and provincial governments procured 5.9 MMT, which, while slightly below target, leaves the government with 10.6 MMT of wheat stocks at the start of the marketing year, one of the highest stock levels ever.

Continuing devaluation of Pakistani rupee against dollar is making Pakistani rice more competitive in the world markets.

Pakistan has so far exported 3.0 MMT of rice during the current marketing year and is now expected to export a record 4.3 MMT during 2017/18.

Pakistan’s Metrological Department has forecast normal monsoon rains this year, raising hopes for a good rice harvest in spite of reports of irrigation water shortages during the early kharif season, the USDA report said.

Based on the Government of Pakistan’s preliminary trade data, exports are progressing at a healthy pace. The continuing devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the dollar (around 15 percent since December 2017) is making Pakistani rice more competitive. Pakistan has so far exported around 3.0 MMT of rice during the current marketing year compared to 2.4 MMT during the corresponding period last year. Exports in 2017/18 are now expected to reach a record 4.3 MMT.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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