GIEWS Country Briefs: Pakistan 18-April-2011

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  • Good prospects for the 2011 harvest in spite of the post-flood problems and slight reduction in the area planted to winter wheat

  • Food prices stabilizing after having increased in the past few months

  • Food security has improved but problem continues for some of the flood-affected people

Early prospects for 2011 winter wheat harvest are good

In Punjab, where more than 75 percent of the country’s wheat is produced, a slight reduction in the area planted is reported. However, in Sindh province wheat plantings have been reportedly increased, mainly due to the cultivation along the Indus river banks covered with the fertile silt deposits following the huge flash floods during last summer. Production losses due to the damaged irrigation infrastructure are expected to be compensated by the improved fertilizer and good quality seed supplies during this season. Although the official target is set at a record high level of 25 million tonnes, FAO’s early forecast for 2011 wheat production is about 24 million tonnes, slightly above last year’s good harvest and close to the record crop in 2009.

In 2010 severe floods caused by heavy monsoon rains damaged some 2.4 million hectares of standing crops. For the rice crop, the area totally or partially damaged was estimated at 872 900 hectares or about one-third of last year’s plantings. The 2010 paddy production is preliminary estimated at 6.3 million tonnes, representing a drop of 38 percent from the previous year.

Reportedly Pakistan has accumulated significant levels of stocks of wheat and has authorized exports in marketing year 2010/11 (May/April) to clear silos and make room for the grain coming from the upcoming harvest in May-June. By early March, exports of 1 million tonnes have been recorded. The country would benefit from high international wheat prices.