Pakistan. Wheat production target of 27m tons to be missed
The wheat production target of 27 million tons is all set to be missed in the wake of heavy rains in the last one month, including the recent one on the weekend. The latest estimates suggest that the wheat output will slash down by 1 to 1.5 million tons, so it will be standing around 25.5 to 26 million tons against the fixed target of 27 million tons.
This possible reduction in wheat production will have far-reaching negative impact on the overall GDP growth of the country for the outgoing fiscal year 2019-20. With possiblewheat production of 25.5 to 26 million tons against the fixed target of 27 million tons, the timely procurement of fixed target of 8.25 million tons is necessary in order to avert the wheat-flour crisis in the upcoming fiscal year 2020-21.
Pakistan’s total consumption requirement on domestic front along with neighboring Afghanistan stands at over 2 million tons per month, so keeping in view the possible wheat output ranging just over 25 million tons will arise the need to ensure strict vigilance in bordering areas to curb any bid of smuggling.
“All the four provinces and PASSCO will have to ensure procurement of wheat in order to foil attempt of hoarders to exploit the future situation by creating artificial shortages,” warned a top official who knew about this situation in detail.
The wheat procurement target was set at 8.25 million tons including 1.8 million tons for PASSCO, 4.5 million tons (Punjab), 1.4 million tons (Sindh), one million tons (Balochistan) and 0.45 million tons (Kyhbyer Pakhtunkhwa) at support price of 1,400 per 40 kg.
Earlier, there were reports that Sindh had so far procured 0.4 million tons wheat in this ongoing season. However, when contacted, Sindh Minister Saeed Ghani on Sunday said that the provincial government had so far procured more than 50 percent of its envisaged target. When asked, he explained that the procurement of wheat was underway and so far they had procured more than 0.7 million tons of wheat against the set target of 1.4 million tons for Sindh. He said that the procurement of wheat would continue till June and the desired target would be achieved.
On the other hand, Punjab also claimed to have procured around 30 percent of wheat against the desired target. However, the sources said that the recent rains in certain areas caused problems because wet wheat was not procured because its weight had increased.
The reduction in wheat production will have far-reaching negative impact on the real GDP growth of the country. The GDP growth had already become a hot potato in the country after the COVID-19 pandemic because all international financial institutions such as the IMF and WB projected shrinking of growth for the outgoing fiscal year. However, the Planning Commission has so far estimated that the GDP growth would remain positive and it would be over one percent. Earlier, the Planning Commission was suggesting positive GDP growth close to 2 percent but after the recent rains, they revised downward their projections and estimated that it would cause loss of around of 0.2 to 0.3 percent of GDP.
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