PAKISTAN – Pakistan is expected to witness record-breaking wheat production in the upcoming 2024-25 marketing year, according to a report by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture. 

The forecasted wheat output stands at 28.8 million tonnes, marking a 2% increase from the previous harvest, fueled by expanded planting areas and favorable yield prospects.

Factors contributing to this increase include enhanced availability of irrigation water, efficient fertilizer usage, and greater adoption of certified seeds. 

Despite experiencing minimal rainfall during December and January, sufficient irrigation water mitigated the impact, resulting in better-than-average supplies during these months.

Wheat holds paramount importance in Pakistan’s agricultural landscape, serving as a cornerstone for domestic food security and occupying approximately 40% of total field cropland, as outlined by the FAS report. 

With the nation witnessing steady population growth, wheat consumption is projected to reach a record 30.9 million tonnes in 2024-25, reflecting a 2.3% increase.

The upward production trend, coupled with sufficient carry-over stocks, is anticipated to reduce Pakistan’s wheat imports to 1 million tonnes in the upcoming year, significantly lower than the previous year’s estimate.

In addition to wheat, Pakistan is also poised to achieve a bumper rice crop in the coming year, buoyed by expanded planting areas and improved yields. The FAS forecasts a record rice output of 9.5 million tonnes in 2024-25, representing a notable 5% year-on-year increase.

Rice production in Pakistan has witnessed a steady uptrend in recent years, except for the flood-damaged 2022-23 crop. The surge in production, particularly in non-basmati varieties, is attributed to the introduction of high-yielding hybrid varieties, signaling positive growth prospects for the rice sector.

Earlier this year, a report indicated that Pakistan’s rice exports are poised to reach an all-time high in the fiscal year ending in June, as restrictions on Indian shipments lead global buyers to turn to Islamabad for their grain needs, with prices hitting a nearly 16-year high.

According to the report, the surge in exports is helping to ease tight global supplies following India’s imposition of restrictions last year, which is significant given India’s status as the world’s largest rice exporter. 

This boom is also expected to bolster Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, which play a crucial role in financing the country’s imports.

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