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Reference Date: 20-March-2015


  1. Wheat production in 2015 forecast at record level of 26.4 million tonnes

  2. Despite improved production, wheat imports anticipated higher in 2014/15 marketing year (May/April)

  3. Prices of wheat and wheat flour declined in February and were well below year-earlier levels

  4. Overall food security conditions stable but localized food insecurity persists

Wheat production in 2015 forecast at record level of 26.4 million tonnes

Harvesting of the 2015, mostly irrigated, “rabi” (winter) wheat crop will start in April and continue until June. Below-average rains at the very start of the 2014/15 agricultural season (October-June) resulted in water deficits, particularly in the rainfed areas of northern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Rains, however, returned to normal patterns since early January, benefitting crop development at critical growing stages, after the crop came out of dormancy in early February. The vegetation response captured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), as of the third dekad of February, shows good establishment of winter wheat over most of the country. The official forecast for 2015 wheat production has been recently revised upwards by 402 000 tonnes to a record level of 26.4 million tonnes, 4 percent up from the bumper level of the previous year. The larger production is attributed to a near 4 percent increase in the area planted and slightly higher forecasted yields, on account of adequate irrigation water supply, high fertilizer use and improved rains.

Bumper 2014 paddy and maize production estimated

Latest official estimates put the 2014 paddy production at 10.1 million tonnes, 11 percent above the previous five-year average, but 1 percent lower than 2013’s bumper output. The slight decrease is the result of localized crop damages in some eastern parts of Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), following floods in September and drought in southeastern parts of Sindh province.

FAO puts the 2014 maize crop (including the spring and “kharif” seasons) at 4.7 million tonnes, 4 percent up from last year’s bumper production. The large maize output in Punjab province, as a result of increased plantings following a shift of cotton areas into maize, and increased use of hybrid maize seeds, is estimated to have more than compensated for a production decline in Sindh province, following the poor rains.

Considerably higher wheat imports forecast in 2014/15

Despite the record 2014 wheat production, wheat imports for the 2014/15 marketing year (May/April) are forecast to almost double the 2013/14 level and reach 800 000 tonnes. Between May 2014 and January 2015, about 740 000 tonnes of wheat were imported, approximately 88 percent more than the corresponding period in 2013/14. Following the Government’s policy that eased conditions to import, millers and importers preferred imported wheat to the domestically produced crop, due to attractive international prices, particularly in the Russian Federation, the main supplier in the current marketing season. Rice exports for 2015 are forecast at 3.8 million tonnes, slightly above the level of the previous year, mainly reflecting the 2014 good rice production.

Prices of wheat and wheat flour declined in February and were well below their year-earlier levels

Prices of wheat and wheat flour declined in February 2015 and were well below their levels for the same month last year in most markets, reflecting ample availabilities from the 2014 bumper harvest and high levels of imports in the previous months. The favourable outlook for the 2015 crop also put downward pressure on prices.

In February 2015, the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 3.2 percent relative to the same period last year. Compared to last year, the food component of the CPI increased by 2.1 percent, while the non-food component rose by 4 percent.

Overall food security conditions are stable but concerns remain in Tharparkar district and northern Pakistan

Overall, the food supply situation is stable following consecutive years of good harvests and adequate levels of imports. However, in Tharparkar district (southeastern Sindh Province) and the surrounding areas of Sindh province cereal production shortfalls, due to poor rains, for the second consecutive year, coupled with losses of small animals, mostly sheep and goats following a viral disease outbreak, have aggravated food insecurity and malnutrition of around 1.7 million people (ACAPS Report January 2015). Furthermore, recurrent insecurity has negatively impacted on food security in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), located in northern Pakistan. According to the FATA Disaster Management Authority, as of December 2014, nearly half a million people were temporarily displaced, including at least 365 000 children.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2001, 2000
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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