Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Pakistan Agriculture: Record Harvests Forecast After Heavy Monsoon Rains

In the first few months of 2022,  Pakistan has exported more rice to China than Vietnam, the historic top supplier, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Pakistan's total rice exports are forecast to jump by 450,000 tons to 4.8 million tons, almost 30% higher than the prior year. 

Women Farmers Planting Rice in Pakistan. Source: Reuters

Pakistan experienced broad-based economic growth across all key sectors in FY 21-22; manufacturing posted 9.8% growth, services 6.2% and agriculture 4.4%. The 4.4% growth in agriculture is particularly welcome; it helps reduce rural poverty.  The country is expected to have yet another record year for agriculture in 2022-23 after heavy monsoon rains. Rice is an important food crop in Pakistan  but wheat is the principal grain consumed domestically. Unfortunately, the same hot and dry planting conditions that delayed planting of the 2022 rice crop in Punjab and Sindh provinces have adversely affected Pakistan’s wheat production. This has forced the government to import wheat at a time of high prices amid the war in Ukraine, a major wheat exporter. 

A Cotton Field in Pakistan

The recent monsoon rains will help to kick-start the sowing of major Kharif (autumn) crops including rice, cotton, sugarcane and corn after about a month's delay.  “There was 40% less water available for the Kharif season (during May-June 2022),” an official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research said while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday. Earlier in March this year, Pakistan's Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) had said “for the Kharif year 2022, the water availability in canals head will be 65.84 million acre feet (MAF) against last year’s 65.08 MAF”. Recent rains have helped fill up major water reservoirs across the country.  About 150,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released from Pakistan's largest Tarbela dam which is more than the combined irrigation needs of the two provinces.  It is also generating over 3,000 MW of electricity, according to media reports

Heavy 2022 Monsoon Rainfall. Source: Pakistan Met Office 

“Cotton production is expected to improve to 9.5-10 million bales (one bale weighs 170 kg) in the wake of ongoing rainfall in cotton belts in Punjab and Sindh,” said Pakistan Central Cotton Committee Vice President Dr Muhammad Ali Talpur. “Cotton production will remain high, as farmers have improved crop management in the backdrop of higher prices in the domestic (and international) market.”

Drought Map of Pakistan. Source: Relief Web

Pakistan's agriculture output is the 10th largest in the world. The country produces large and growing quantities of cereals, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. Currently, Pakistan produces about 38 million tons of cereals (mainly wheat, rice and corn), 17 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 70 million tons of sugarcane, 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Total value of the nation's agricultural output exceeds $50 billion.  Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help the farm sector become much more productive to serve both domestic and export markets.  

Pakistan's Thar Desert After Monsoon 2022. Source: Emmanuel Guddu 

Pakistanis are eating more and healthier foods, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22. Per capita average daily calorie intake in Pakistan has jumped to 2,735 calories in FY 2021-22 from 2,457 calories in 2019-20. The biggest contributor to it is the per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which soared from 53.6 Kg to 68.3 Kg, less than half of the 144 Kg (400 grams/day) recommended by the World Health Organization. Healthy food helps cut disease burdens and reduces demand on the healthcare system. Under former Prime Minister Imran Khan's leadership, Pakistan succeeded in achieving these nutritional improvements in spite of surging global food prices amid the Covid19 pandemic

Investments in modernization of the agriculture production process and farm-to-market value chain will require major reforms to ensure growers get a bigger share of the value. The extraordinary power of the middlemen (arthis) as financiers needs to be regulated. This can not happen without legislation in close consultation with the growers. Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help raise the productivity of the farm sector for it to serve both domestic and export markets better.  

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Chicken Cheaper Than Daal

Meat Industry in Pakistan

Bumper Crops and Soaring Tractor Sales in Pakistan

Meat and Dairy Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistanis Consuming More Calories, Fruits and Vegetables

Eid ul Azha: Multi-Billion Dollar Urban-to-Rural Transfer

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

Median Incomes in India and Pakistan


AR Rafiq said...

Not likely in Sindh as we are already late for paddy season due to first lack of water and now the rain. Not to mention high input costs.

Riaz Haq said...

AR: "Not likely in Sindh as we are already late for paddy season due to first lack of water and now the rain. Not to mention high input costs"

Rice planting was delayed for Kharif crop but it’s happening now. USDA is forecasting another record year for rice production in #Pakistan


Junaid said...

May not be cotton, flooding in cotton May result otherwise

Riaz Haq said...

Junaid: "May not be cotton, flooding in cotton May result otherwise"

USDA is forecasting higher #cotton output in #Pakistan in 2022/23. "2022/23 cotton production is forecast higher for Brazil and Pakistan"


Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan buying 250,000-300,000 tons of #French #wheat. A severe #drought in Pakistan & the impact of higher #fertilizer prices have led the country to make large purchases on world market where supplies have tightened amid #UkraineWar. #food #agriculture https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/grains-soybeans-corn-hit-week-highs-on-us-crop-woes

Traders purchased between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes of French wheat aimed for Pakistan as part of a tender last week, European traders said on Tuesday, in a further sign that importing countries are turning to western Europe to fill a gap left by missing Black Sea grain.

A severe drought in Pakistan and the impact of higher fertilizer prices have led the country to make large purchases on the world market where supplies have tightened since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. China had also made hefty wheat purchases last week. Traders said purchases included around 1 million tonnes of Australian wheat, both for animal feed and flour milling, and about 350,000-400,000 tonnes of French wheat.


Chicago soybeans futures hit a two-week high while corn hit a one-week high on Wednesday as renewed concerns over hot and dry weather in parts of the U.S. Midwest continued to support the market. Wheat extended gains on growing doubts that an agreement to reopen maritime grain exports out of Ukraine would be implemented soon.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.6% to $6.04-1/2 a bushel, as of 1141 GMT, after climbing earlier in the session to its highest since July 19 at $6.05-1/2 bushel. Soybeans rose 1% to $13.97-1/4 a bushel after hitting $14.02 a bushel, the highest since July 12, and wheat gained 1.3% to $8.14 a bushel

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly condition ratings for corn, soybeans and spring wheat on Monday fell more than most analysts expected, while upcoming forecasts call for more sweltering heat across the U.S. Midwest and Plains.

Strong international wheat demand and uncertainty about Ukrainian grain exports was underpinning wheat prices. A Turkish official said the first Ukraine grain exports were likely this week under a deal signed by Russia and Ukraine on Friday and brokered by Ankara and the United Nations. However, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister said on Wednesday the deal could collapse if obstacles to Russia's agricultural exports were not promptly removed, Interfax reported.

samir sardana said...

The Crux is that Global warming is to the benefit of Pakistan Agri - due to the havoc in other nations,population size,massive potential of hydro in Pakistan and the melting glaciers

The Longitudinal spread of the nation,ensures that excesses are minimised or nullified

Agri,Renewables,Textiles and Education is the future for Pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

#Monsoon rains in #Tharparkar in #Sindh, #Pakistan have created vast green pastures to help the local #economy that depends on livestock. Water ponds in the desert are filled to capacity, bringing a sigh a relief for the #drought-stricken population https://www.brecorder.com/news/40188619/2nd-half-of-monsoon-season-likely-to-produce-less-rainfall

The second half of the monsoon season is likely to fetch less rains compared with the first half, said sources from Pakistan Meteorological Department.

The monsoon season starts from early July and continues until 15th of September in Pakistan every year. The PMD sources said about five to six hundred times more rains have been witnessed during the last 26 days, and there was virtually everyday rain in the country since July.

They said the ongoing spell of heavy rains is likely to continue until the first week of August, followed by a long interval in rains any further. However, they added in the same breath, the actual forecast would be issued by early August.

It may be noted that the areas within the country known for less rains have received heavy spells during the current monsoon season. Right from the South of Punjab to the upper Sindh, there was heavy rain for almost the whole of the month.

The PMD sources said heavy rains have wreaked havoc with the date orchards in Sindh as the crop was at the ripening stage and the farmers found themselves into a troublesome situation so far storage of the crop is concerned.

Traditionally, they said, the province of Sindh used to receive monsoon rains during the later part of the season, which got reversed this year and thus causing damage to the date crop. They said farmers in Sindh were busy in drying up dates nowadays before dispatching them to market.

However, rains are proved healthier to the rest of the seasonal crops including cotton, maize, rice, and sugarcane in the country. Also, they said sufficient rains in Tharparkar have led to mushroom growth of green pastures in the area, beneficial to the local economy. Besides, the water ponds are covered up to their storage capacity in the deserted areas, brining a sigh a relief to the local population.

According to the sources, the cotton crop has also faced less damage due to the fact that most of the plants were yet at the maturity stage. Chances of damage were high in case rains approach to the cotton growing areas in the second half of the season.

However, they feared various leaf relating diseases due to the high level of moisture in the air ahead. Same is true for the rice crop that was facing huge damage over the past few years due to traditional heavy rains during the second half of the monsoon season. So far as Balochistan is concerned, the sources said small dams have been overflowed due to heavy downpours, causing damage to the localities due to flashfloods.

Riaz Haq said...

Maersk and SEED Ventures collaborate to improve agricultural exports from Pakistan
July 28, 2022
By Jack Donnelly


Maersk Pakistan Private Limited (Maersk) and SEED Ventures have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the Pakistan Agripreneurship Challenge (PAC).

PAC is an Agri-value chain intervention challenge that aims to improve the quality of Pakistan’s agricultural produce and explore new global markets for Pakistan’s agriculture exporters.

In 2020, Pakistan produced 5.6 million metric tons of vegetables, of which the resulting export produce amounted to $4.92 million. In contrast, the Netherlands producing 5.3 million metric tons of vegetables, could export $31 billion worth of produce.

The comparison, Maersk argues, showcases Pakistan is not meeting its export potential for vegetables.

Issues pertaining to storage, transport & distribution are significant roadblocks for the Agri sector, and Maersk claims it is evident that a holistic value chain intervention is required for the post-harvest category.

PAC is an agripreneurship challenge that calls upon Agri ventures, innovators, farmers and agriculture students to participate and develop innovative solutions to solve the post-harvest challenges in Pakistan for vegetable produce.

The shortlisted finalists from the challenge will be given the opportunity to realise their innovative agripreneurship solutions by Maersk and SEED.

The 20 July collaboration signed between SEED Ventures and Maersk aims to identify potential solutions to support Pakistan in meeting its export potential.

Hasan Faraz, Managing Director, Maersk Pakistan, commented: “At Maersk, our purpose is to improve life for all by integrating the world. We are delighted to partner with SEED Ventures and contribute to improving Pakistan’s agricultural sector.”

Riaz Haq said...

The (Pakistan) government is working on a policy that will not only reduce dependence on imported palm oil but also facilitate and support farmers to grow oilseed crops, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema, said on Tuesday.


At a press conference, Mr Cheema said the government has decided to take short- to long-term policy measures for the uplift of the agriculture sector, focusing on encouraging the farming community to bring more area under cultivation with the ultimate objective of achieving self-sufficiency in all the major crops and reducing the country’s import bill for certain agricultural products.

The country is currently spending $4.5 billion annually on the import of palm oil, and it is expected that the import bill for this commodity will increase to $6bn next year.

The minister said spending $1bn on the import of three million tonnes of wheat and $6bn on importing palm oil in a year is a big loss of foreign exchange, which is a matter of grave concern.

“The present government has revised the procurement targets for the procurement of wheat by the Punjab government and Passco, which have been achieved. In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war and the pressure built on the countries of the Central Asian Republic on their exports, the government has attained sufficient wheat stock to avoid the imposition of any emergency,” he added.

The minister said that the support price for wheat, being the important staple food crop, will be announced well ahead of the rabi season so that farmers will be able to have their own production estimates while keeping in view the market trends.

As far as cotton is concerned, Mr Cheema said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has already formed a special committee headed by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, to formulate a recommendation as to how to incentivise cotton growers so that the lost area under cotton cultivation should be revived.

The intervention price for cotton will be set keeping in view of the price in the international market so that cotton growers should not face any loss, he said.

As part of the long-term policy measure, the government has decided to solarise all the 1.2m tube wells that are run on electricity. Once solarised, the agricultural tube wells will be 100 per cent free of electricity.

The special committee has proposed that bank financing on easy instalments be offered to farmers, and in this regard, the government is currently negotiating with commercial banks, he said.

He said that all agricultural inputs have been made tax free, and while referring to the availability of tractors, he was of the view that farmers should get tractors from banks on lease financing, as in the case of leasing of vehicles. This will help eliminate the profit of middlemen.

The minister said that Pakistan and China will shortly sign an agreement on buffalo breed improvement.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Sugar Annual | USDA Foreign Agricultural Service


Due to slight increases in area and sugarcane yields, sugar production in 2022/23 is forecast to reach 7.2 million metric tons (MMT), a marginal increase over the good 2021/22 crop. Sugar consumption for 2022/23 is forecast at 6.1 MMT, which would be a 3.3 percent increase, reflecting population growth and demand from the expanding food processing sector. The production estimate for 2021/22 is increased reflecting the excellent crop last year. As a result, ending stocks are higher, leading to a larger exportable surplus entering 2022/23. Due to the large stocks, and competitive prices, sugar exports are forecast to reach one million tons in 2022/23.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Rice exports: $2.5 billion in 2021-22: Will the rally continue? - BR Research


It had become expected, but it certainly didn’t start that way. Pakistan’s annual rice exports earnings breached $2.5 billion during FY22 for the first time in history, growing 23 percent over the previous year. Rice exporters added nearly half a billion more in export earnings, the largest increase in exports outside of traditional categories such as garments and apparel.

Riaz Haq said...

Flash floods kill 550 in Pakistan in heaviest rains in decades


Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains killed at least 549 people in Pakistan over the past month, with remote communities in the impoverished southwestern province of Balochistan among the hardest hit, a government agency said.

Government agencies and the army have set up aid and relief camps in flood-hit regions and are working to help relocate families and provide food and medicine.
Aside from the fatalities, the flooding had damaged more than 46,200 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority said on Friday.
"We're doing our best to provide for extensive relief and rehabilitation of flood victims," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said during a visit to stricken areas.

But the Balochistan provincial government said it needed more funds and appealed to international organizations for assistance.
"Our losses are massive," the province's Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bezenjo said.

There were food shortages in every district hit by the flooding, with some also disconnected from the rest of the province due to more than 700 kilometers of roads being washed away.
Bezenjo said his province needed "huge assistance" from the government and from international aid agencies.
The past month was the wettest in three decades, with 133% more rain than the average for the past 30 years, the disaster authority said. Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, received 305% more rain than the annual average, the disaster agency said.

August 6, 2022 at 4:12 PM Delete

Riaz Haq said...

United Nations Pakistan
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) reported an overall increase of 180% in the Monsoon rainfall this year. In Balochistan, instead of the expected 63 mm, 163 mm rainfall was recorded – an alarming 450% deviation - leading to flooding in 23 out of 35 districts.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s total grains imports, all of which are wheat, in 2021-22 are forecast at 2 million tonnes, down from 4 million the year before. The country is expected to export 200,000 tonnes of wheat, the same amount as in 2020-21.


Production of rice in 2021-22 is forecast at 7.8 million tonnes, up from 7.6 million the year before. Exports of rice in 2021-22 are put at 4.2 million tonnes, up from 4 million.

The IGC also forecasts Pakistan’s imports of rapeseed at 900,000 tonnes, unchanged from the previous year.

In an annual report on June 24, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) attaché puts Pakistan’s maize production in 2021-22 at a record 7.9 million tonnes, up from 7.8 million the previous year.

“Wheat is Pakistan’s largest crop, in terms of area sown and is grown under different agro-ecological zones,” the attaché explained. “In irrigated areas, wheat is planted after cotton, rice, and sugarcane, while in rainfed areas wheat is grown at the same time as maize and millet.

“Sowing of wheat takes place from October to December and harvests from the month of March to May. Approximately 80% of farmers grow it on an area of around 9 million hectares (close to 40% of the country’s total cultivated land) during the winter or ‘Rabi’ season.”

The attaché added, “Wheat is Pakistan’s main dietary staple. Pakistan has a variety of traditional flat breads, often prepared in a traditional clay oven called a tandoor.”

Wheat flour contributes 72% of calorific intake, with per capita wheat consumption at around 124 kilograms per person each year, one of the highest levels in the world. About 95% of wheat used in Pakistan goes for human consumption.

“As incomes increase and a stronger middle class emerges, consumers are gradually shifting toward more dairy, meat, and other higher-value food products in their diet,” the report said. “Over the long term, this shift to a more balanced diet has the potential to limit the pace of growth in wheat consumption.”

Riaz Haq said...

MITHI: As many as 70 goats perished when lightning struck them in a village near Islamkot town during heavy rain that battered several parts of Tharparkar on Friday, though it redoubled joys of Tharis, whose very survival was dependent on rain.


HYDERABAD: The new spell of rainfall forecasted to begin for the day began lashing lower Sindh late on Saturday night and continued for quite some time in Tharparkar, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Badin, Thatta, Tando Mohammad Khan, Matiari and Tando Allahyar districts. Luckily, no loss of life was reported from any part of the province.

Rain started at around 9pm and continued for over 45 minutes in Hyderabad, Matiari and Tando Allahyar district, hub of sugar cane production in Sindh, where it would benefit cane crop but it might prove detrimental to cotton that was sensitive to rain.

Rain in the catchment area of Darawat Dam in Jamshoro district increased the dam’s level by 0.5 meter, raising it from 112.70 meter to 112.75 meter. The dam had achieved its maximum storage level due to heavy rainfall when its spillways started operating for the first time since the reservoirs’ completion a few days back.

12mm of rainfall was recorded in Hyderabad city’s meteorological office and 9mm at the airport office. After 45 minutes of rain another spell visited the city at around 12am which continued or around 20 minutes. Since July 14 to 25, a total of 308mm of rain had been recorded at Met city office and 246mm from July 4 to 25 at Met airport office.

Meanwhile, Sukkur barrage reached medium flood level at 6pm on Aug 6 with downstream discharge at 350,045 cusecs and upstream discharge at 381,015 cusecs. On Aug 7, Sukkur barrage downstream discharge remained 350,080 cusecs and upstream at 384,560 cusecs, according to officials.

Guddu barrage was now having low flood with 370,836 cusecs at its upstream and 343,990 cusecs discharge at 6pm on Saturday. Kotri barrage was having normal flows with its upstream discharge recorded at 196,855 cusecs and downstream at 187,780 cusecs at 6pm the same day. Flows have lately dropped in the river system at all barrages in Punjab.

Growers’ bodies are demanding waiver in recovery of taxes and loans from farmers in rain-hit areas in the province where widespread damage to crops was reported during the first spell of rain in July when 85pc date crop in Khairpur was washed away.

MITHI: As many as 70 goats perished when lightning struck them in a village near Islamkot town during heavy rain that battered several parts of Tharparkar on Friday, though it redoubled joys of Tharis, whose very survival was dependent on rain.

The rainfall in hilly areas of Nagarparkar was recorded at 45mm. It had started raining in Mithi, Chhachhro, Islamot, Dahli talukas late on Thursday night and continued on Friday.

The weather websites including Pakistan Meteorological Department forecast more intermittent heavy rainfall in Tharparkar and other parts of the province till Aug 15.

Riaz Haq said...

The country is expected to produce record-breaking over 9 million tonnes of rice against all odds in the current fiscal year against the 8.9m tonnes produced in 2021-22.


The US Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN report for July 2022 forecasts a lower production at 8.4m tonnes in Pakistan.

However, local rice sector experts expect that Pakistan will harvest more than 9m tonnes of paddy in the forthcoming season because of weather conditions, increase in acreage and better availability of farm inputs.

“Above normal rain in July and the first week of August, late sowing of paddy in cotton fields of Sindh and south Punjab which were damaged due to heavy rains, will push for a record rice production,” says Hamid Malik.

The country has a carryover stock of around 1m tonnes but higher consumption of corn for animal feed purposes will leave more exportable surplus during FY23.

“Pakistan has big chances of rice exports up to 5m tonnes during the FY23 because of lower paddy production of over 10m tonnes in India as the crop was hit by erratic rains of monsoon there, Chinese crop was affected by high temperature, and Vietnam suffered untimely rain at harvesting time,” he says.

Due to these factors, global rice production will come down to 515m tonnes this year as against 519m tonnes last year leaving a gap of 4-5 million tonnes on the supply side, he estimates, adding global average price is expected to be higher than that of the ongoing season.

About the Basmati growers, he says they may get a lesser price for their produce this year but with higher per acre yield and a cut in expenses for pumping out subsoil water due to rains and better availability of urea may give them consolation.

He predicts that prices of non-Basmati rice varieties in the local market will be higher this year.

Riaz Haq said...

Drought Bulletin of Pakistan (July 2022)


During the month of July 2022, rainfall received across Pakistan is shown in Fig, 1. Above Normal rainfall reported from most of the places in Pakistan, while some stations received exceptionally high above normal rains and caused flooding in those areas. The Chief amounts of monthly rainfall recorded across Pakistan during July 2022 are shown in Table 1

Precipitation during June-July2022 was above normal especially over most of the drought-prone areas of Sindh and Balochistan, due to which drought conditions have been terminated or minimized over there.

Monsoon rainfall is expected to be above normal over the central (Punjab) and southern parts (Sindh) of the country whereas slightly above normal rainfall is expected over remaining parts of the country.

Drought Conditions has been minimized due to above normal rainfall spells over Balochistan and Sindh. The disaster management authorities are requested to plan DRM activities accordingly.