They said the delay in the announcement of wheat support price by the government has reduced cultivation area. The federal government had announced that it will increase wheat support price by Rs 150 per maund to Rs 1200 per maund in the third week of November 2012, when wheat cultivation was almost finished across the country. “It is too difficult to achieve wheat production target of 25 million tons set by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for 2013,” said Ibrahim Mughal, Chairman Pakistan Agri Forum.
Despite several requests for early announcement of wheat support price, the federal government made this announcement after the sowing period. Delayed announcement of hike in wheat support price will now result in some 1.5 million tons decline in wheat production during 2012-13, he added. Wheat sowing had almost ended on November 20, 2013 and the government announced new wheat support price on November 22, 2013, therefore the new and higher support price announcement has not made any positive impact on wheat sowing, he said.
Due to delayed decision on wheat support price, we are expecting a crop of 23-23.5 million tons this year against the country”s demand of 26 million tons, Mughal said. “This year”s target will be missed by 1.5 million ton and the overall production will not be higher than 23.5 million tons against target of 25 million tons,” he added. Overall wheat production, during this season, will be even less than last year”s production, when the country produced 23.7 million ton wheat, he added.
Punjab is expected to produce some 18.2 million tons wheat against the target of 19.2 million tons. Sindh”s production is likely to be 3 million tons over the target of 3.5 million tons, while, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are expected to produce 0.9 million and 1.3 million tons, respectively. The prices of fertiliser, diesel, water, seeds and pesticides have registered notable increase during last one year, however federal government has not increased support price according to increase in the cost of production, he said.
Less than target production will result in higher wheat and flour prices in the country, he said and added that wheat flour will be sold at Rs 50 per kilogramme in Karachi at end of 2013. He said during the current wheat sowing season a target of 22.5 million acres cultivation target was fixed, however sowing has been completed only on 21 million acres and the reason is delayed announcement. Punjab has cultivated wheat on 15.8 million acres against a target of 16.8 million acres, Sindh 2.6 million acres over target of 3 million acres, he pointed out.
He said wheat crop in Sindh is almost ready and arrival of wheat has started in some parts of Sindh, particularly in Badin and Thatta. Mughal said this will be the second year, when the government fails to get positive results following increase in wheat support price. This year the government has announced support price in November, while last year support price was also announced in December, when sowing was almost completed across the country.