Wheat Prices & Availability Facts in Pakistan

Wheat Prices & Availability Facts in Pakistan

Pakistan contributes to producing wheat in a very large quantity per year and also has a large market for wheat. It produces an average of 20 to 24 million tons of wheat per year. Wheat adds a 14% value to the agriculture sector and contributes 3% to the GDP. According to official sources, wheat grows on about 40% of Pakistan’s cultivated land. It also accounts for 37% of food and energy intake thus making it the single most important crop in Pakistan. Research has shown that wheat grows best in warmer regions thus making Pakistan one of the best choices of wheat production as it experiences mild winters and warm summers due to which Pakistan is the 8th country to produce wheat.

Wheat and flour prices in Pakistan

Wheat prices in Pakistan rise and fall quite often according to its availability and production, the current price in Punjab is Rs 1800/40kg. However, it is quite cheap considering the amount it is produced in. During the covid-19 crises in January 2021 wheat prices had reduced a lot. The federal government had announced that flour wheat a seven and a half month low in local markets across the country.

The flour price in Pakistan differ from city to city and they were as follows. In Karachi, the price had reduced from 1320 to 1200. In Multan, it had reduced from 1250 to 860. From Rs 1200 to Rs 1120 in Larkana and Rs 1220 to Rs 1200 in Bannu. Furthermore, a bad of flour costs Rs 870 in Islamabad. Rs 855 in Sialkot and Rs 860 in Faisalabad, Sargodha, Gujranwala and Bahawalpur. However, in Peshawar, the prices are quite high forcing them to buy the most expensive flour the prices reached Rs 1300 for a 20kg bag of flour.

On the other hand in March 2021 retailers had again jacked up wheat prices 1650 per 40 kg bag in Punjab and 2000 per 40 kg in Sindh.

The prices rise and fall varies in accordance to its production, the higher the price the lower the production. These are the reasons that the prices have lowered a significant amount recently due to the recent balanced production which is the result of the government support to local producers and the government’s target to fix wheat production in the year 2021.

Wheat Availability in Pakistan

In Pakistan spring wheat known as the Rabi crop is grown in Sindh, Punjab, NWFP, and Baluchistan. However, in the northern areas of Baluchistan wheat is also grown in winters on a small scale. According to stats, the wheat crop growing area is 9.50 hectares. The major production area for wheat is Punjab which is 71.17 percent while Sindh being 13.38 percent. The yield per acre in Sindh is 2410 kg which in Punjab it is 2316 kg. The average human consumption of wheat is 120 kg per person, the requirement for wheat is to be increased within the next ten years meaning Pakistan will have to produce a further 10 million tonnes.

However, there is around a 60% yield gap in wheat and there is a major need for it to narrow down. Due to the lower yield, the production in Pakistan has been below potential. Major reasons leading to this low productivity are the late harvesting of Kharif crops like sugarcane, cotton, and rice as well as the late plantation of wheat. This can be due to inefficient fertilizer use, lack of availability for seed, weed infestation, drought or shortage in rain or irrigation system, soil degradation, and week extension services system.

To avoid all of this and increase production scientists are working on high-yielding and disease-resistant varieties for the availability of seeds. Also, it is measured that wheat yield reduction can be up to 30 percent if planted in the last week of December.

A good strengthening of research, availability of seed recommendation varieties, availability of irrigation water, technological strategies, and availability of inputs will bring wheat production to an all-time high.

Pakistan’s wheat import and export

Pakistan before the year 2000 was a wheat importer due to the high consumption rate and lack of resources to produce enough wheat. However, after that Pakistan entered the export trend managing to produce enough. It has imported up to 2 to 3 million tons of wheat in the year 2010/11.

The main importers of wheat in Pakistan are the European Union, the Russian Federation, Canada, the United States of America, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

Wheat Production Government Vs private sector

Pakistan contributes a lot to wheat production which leads to the government as well as local production on a huge scale. However, the wheat sector is heavily controlled by the government since the late 1950s. To promote domestic production firstly the government had fixed prices higher than international.

Other than that the procurement prices that are paid to farmers, how much wheat to release and the prices paid by millers, and the interprovincial movement of wheat are all controlled heavily by the government. The release price which can later be set in the marketing year is also set by the government.

The government produces/crushes a total of one-third of domestic wheat production the rest falling within the private sector. However quite recently when the crisis of shortage of water occurred the government has managed to provide support to local farmers.

Pakistan currently is exporting wheat as well as importing according to its domestic production, however with the correct strategies and planning it can become self-sufficient which would promise a far better economic situation for Pakistan than the current bag system. Pakistan has the climate and cultivated land to produce wheat, other than that it needs to sort out its resources like lack of irrigation systems, the availability of seeds, and pesticides to produce much more wheat that would not only increase the domestic but will also be ready to export as well.

A few considerations are to look for more traditional methods like the sun-drying technique for pest control to increase productivity even when having a lack of resources.


Ellen Hollington

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