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Reference Date: 18-December-2013

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Higher winter wheat plantings for the 2013/14 cropping season

  2. Above-average cereal production in 2013

  3. Wheat imports forecast to increase in 2013/14 marketing year

  4. Prices rice remain stable, while those of wheat gain strength

  5. Food security remains a challenge for the flood-affected population

Higher winter wheat plantings estimated for the 2013/14 cropping season

Planting of the 2013/14 Rabi crops, including mostly irrigated winter wheat and barley, is currently ongoing. The above-average monsoon rains helped replenish water reserves and improved soil moisture conditions, benefiting planting activities and early crop development. As a result, the total area planted to wheat this year is expected to increase to almost 9 million hectares, some 4 percent above last year’s below average level. Official target for the 2014 aggregate wheat production is set at 25 million tonnes, some 3 percent above last year’s near-record level.

Above-average cereal production in 2013

Harvesting of the 2013 summer season Kharif crops, mostly paddy, maize and sorghum, is completed. Following generally below average rains between April and July, a period of torrential rains ensued in August, causing localized flooding across the two main rice producing provinces, Punjab and Sindh. Although, the rains provided much relief to crops in some parts, they also negatively affected yields, particularly in the growing areas of Punjab. As a result, FAO has lowered its 2013 aggregate paddy production forecast by 600 000 tonnes to 8.7 million tonnes, which is still 5 percent up from last year’s poor output but some 4 percent below the previous five-year average.

The 2013 winter wheat crop harvested by June is officially estimated at 24.2 million tonnes, some 3 percent above last year’s flood affected output. Generally favourable weather conditions, with above-average rains during the growing season in Punjab, and good supplies of fertilizer and irrigation water, were the main reasons behind the estimated increase in production.

Overall, the 2013 total production estimate is put at 38.2 million tonnes, some 3 percent above last year’s average harvest.

Wheat imports forecast to increase in 2013/14

Reflecting the insufficient 2013 wheat production for a second consecutive year, wheat imports are forecast to increase considerably and reach some 950 000 tonnes during 2013/14 marketing year (May/April). Pakistan is a net cereal exporting country, mostly of rice, and with an estimated below-average production, rice exports for 2014 have been estimated at about 2.9 million tonnes, some 3 percent below the average level of year before.

Prices of wheat reach record or near record levels while those of rice remain stable

In November, retail prices of wheat and wheat flour in Karachi market, were 16 percent and 21 percent above their levels a year earlier.

Prices of wheat and wheat flour, which increased steadily from late 2011, continue to gain strength, reaching record or near record levels in November 2013 in most markets of the country. The high level of prices reflects the shortfall in 2013 wheat production and low levels of stocks, coupled with sharp rises in fuel prices.

Prices of rice (IRRI varieties) have remained relatively stable since August 2013, after a sharp rise in June and July, mainly due to increased demand ahead of Ramadan, coupled with increases in petroleum prices and general sales tax. The price of basmati rice, intended mainly for export, has been stable at a record level since June 2013 and in November 2013 prices in Karachi market were 15 percent above the corresponding month last year.

In November 2013 the national CPI was up 10.9 percent relative to the same period last year. Compared to last year, the food component of the CPI increased by 13 percent while the non-food component rose by 9.4 percent.

Food security remains a challenge for the flood-affected population

The overall food supply situation in Pakistan has been satisfactory following consecutive years of relatively good harvests. However, the country was hit by severe floods for the fourth year in row. This year’s floods in August and September caused widespread losses and damages, affecting Punjab and Sindh provinces the most. According to the National Disaster Management Authority about 230 lives were lost and at least 1.5 million people affected across the country. The affected population suffered significant crop, livestock and grain stock losses. Furthermore, a powerful earthquake in Pakistan’s remote western province of Balochistan on 24 September affected at least 300 000 people. In general, the high food price inflation is also a contributing factor for food insecurity, especially of the low-income households.











Relevant links:
From GIEWS:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Main Food-related Policy Measures (From 1 Jan 2008 to 11 Oct 2011)
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2001, 2000
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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