Wheat output expected to stay steady

Published March 7, 2020
FAISALABAD: A farmer sprays pesticide on his wheat crop.—APP
FAISALABAD: A farmer sprays pesticide on his wheat crop.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Favourable weather conditions and adequate supplies of agricultural inputs in Pakistan are expected to lead to a near-average output of 25.2 million tonnes of wheat this year, UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Friday.

The recent outbreak of desert locusts, however, raises concerns for the wheat crops in parts of the main producing provinces of Punjab and Sindh, according to ‘Crop Prospects and Food Situation’, the quarterly global report of FAO.

The government has set wheat production target at 27.03m tonnes for the current rabi season. During the last rabi season, 1.5m tonnes of wheat were lost due to unfavourable weather conditions that damaged the ready-to-harvest crop in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The Ministry of National Food Security and Research had estimated wheat production at 24.12m tonnes.

Wheat production prospects in 2020 are mostly favourable in the Far East, with the main producers of the sub-region reporting higher plantings and conducive weather conditions that have boosted yield expectations. The 2020 production outlook is also positive in the CIS countries of Asia, due to mostly favourable weather conditions.

The report estimated production of coarse grains at 6.8m tonnes and rice at 11.5m tonnes in 2019 crops, recording total cereal production at 43.6m tonnes against 42.7m tonnes in 2018, showing a 2 per cent increase.

FAO’s 2019 world cereal production estimate is currently pegged at 2 719m tonnes, almost 62m tonnes (2.3pc) above production in 2018 and 4.7m tonnes higher than reported in February.

The estimate of global production of coarse grains has been raised by 5m tonnes to 1,444m tonnes since the previous report in February, up by 2.4 percent from 2018.

The latest revision incorporates recently released official figures with higher-than-previously projected yields in West Africa and Ukraine.

The estimate of wheat production in 2019 has been kept nearly unchanged from the previous month at 763m tonnes, 4.2pc higher than in 2018 and the second highest on record.

Global rice production in 2019 is largely unchanged, month on month, at 512m tonnes (milled basis), down 0.5pc from the 2018 all-time record high.

World cereal utilisation in 2019-20 is forecast to reach a record of 2 721m tonnes, up around 7m tonnes (0.3pc) from the February forecast.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2020

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