‘Bumper’ Wheat Crop


FINALLY, some good news for Pakistan: The government expects a ‘bumper’ wheat crop of 27.5 million tons this year.

The government’s claims are also supported by unofficial reports from several wheat-growing areas in Punjab, which produces more than three-quarters of all the wheat produced in Pakistan. It is expected that 29.6 million tons of grain will be available throughout the 2019 marketing year, with official carryover stocks of the commodity being roughly 2.1 million tons.

As a result, the nation will only need to import a million tons of wheat this year to meet its expanding local demand. The increased output should also limit the ability of the profiteers to control the market and drive up prices.

However, the exact production figures won’t be known until after harvesting is finished. The authorities must be on guard up until that point to ensure they have a mechanism in place to determine the precise production in order to schedule precise imports of the crop to fill any potential supply shortfalls.

The administration has an opportunity to boast about its agricultural policies due to the anticipated increase in crop yield. However, we are aware that the country owes the projected bumper crop to the recent cooler temperatures, particularly in March, which allowed the crop to enlarge in size.

In fact, in order to meet the goal of the national food security policy, which is to grow enough wheat to not only meet domestic requirements but also create a surplus for exports and buffer stockpiles for a rainy day, the government must evaluate its outdated regulations.

For that, it will need to stop following the yearly ritual of setting sowing, output, and import/export targets, start putting those strategies into action, and manage market volatility. High-yield seed types should be made available, input prices should be stabilized, trade restrictions on wheat and other agricultural goods should be lifted, and smallholder farmers should be given subsidized loans to encourage farm mechanization.

More crucially, the government should reduce its influence in the market to encourage more private investment in the construction of cold chain infrastructure and storage facilities to reduce post-harvest waste.

If we want to leverage the potential of our agricultural sector, we need long-term, comprehensive strategies for agriculture as a whole, not ad hoc crop-specific action.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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