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It is a staple food crop of Pakistan, and accounts for nearly 36 per cent of the total cropped area, 30 percent of the value added by major crops and 76 per cent of the total production of food grains. Pakistan made an important breakthrough in 2000 by not only achieving self-sufficiency in wheat production, but by also being able to become a wheat exporting country Wheat industry is a third largest industry of Pakistan. Among the wheat producing country, Pakistan stands at 10th place in terms of area (8.5 million hectares) and 59th in terms of yield (21.0 m ton) annually. It occupies a supreme position in the food grains of Pakistan; it covers 66% of the total area under food grains and contributes 74% of the total food grain production. Wheat alone contributes 13.8% to the value added in agriculture and 3.4% towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan. The province of Punjab grows the majority of Pakistani wheat, producing 72 percent of the nations total supply. The next largest wheat-producing province is Sindh, which produces 17 percent of the total wheat supply. Winter wheat planting begins around the first of October and run through mid-December. Harvest begins in April and is usually completed in mid-June.


The size of wheat crop is provisionally at 23.4 million tones, 11.7 per cent more than past year crop. The wheat storage capacity is estimated to be only 7 million tones. According to total wheat storage public sector is estimated at 5.2 million tones, of this 1.3 million tones is with Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation and the remaining is with provincial agricultural departments. The wheat is mostly stored in jute bags and the specifications differ by provinces in conformity with weather conditions. Around 232,772 tons of wheat stored in the open areas, and 19,407 tones at Sukkur, 51,034 tones at Ghotki, 63,954 at Naishahroferoz and 37,615 tones in Benazirabad district.


In 1999-00, the province Punjab produced 16.48 million tons of wheat at per hectare average of 2,667 kg. The production dropped to 15.41 million tons next year-2000-01. Average per hectare yield was 2,465kg. There was 6.5 per cent reduction in wheat production and eight per cent in average per hectare yield. The production dipped further in year 2001-02 to 14.59 million tons with average going down to 2,392 kg per hectare. Average per hectare yield decline was 10 and three per cent compared to 1999-00 and 2000-01. In 2005-06, the production recovered a bit and hit 16.81 million tons at an average of 2659 kg per hectare- some eight kg less than what the province produced in year 199900.Unfortunately our population is increasing year by year (2.5% per Annam) but the production of wheat is stagnant since 3 to 4 years.


The imports of wheat were increased to almost 6 million tons in the year 2005-2006 with a lower critic limit of 3.5 million tones. In 2007 the imports were recorded as 1,700 million tons after a shortfall of wheat while in 2008 it was more decreased and recorded as 1,500 million tons and in the previous year 2009 it were recorded as 1,000 million tons.


Over the last 50 years since the independence of Pakistan, the policy-makers have not been able to develop a satisfactory policy for the basic necessity of its people, food. Every new government experiments with this policy, at the expense of the people, and there is no consistency at all. At times we have surplus wheat which rots away in open storages. Storage capacity is less than the required storage therefore the excess amount of wheat is smuggled to Afghanistan and India majorly because in Afghanistan there is no wheat industry at all and in India there is a huge population.

The government ought to review its demand-supply position around September-October and if needed it ought to place order for import before the high season starts. Policies can produce lasting and satisfactory results only, if they are easily implemented, and the legitimate interests of all stakeholders are recognized and catered for. The flour mills should be facilitated to build storage facilities in order to prevent wheat stealing and wastage on the way moving wheat from one place to another. If as a social decision, farmers need to be subsidized (as is the case in many other developed countries), it ought to be done in the form of items like crop insurance, tax free pesticide supply, and provision of cheaper and better seeds to increase yields etc. The government should emphasize on any one problem either on increasing population or on stagnant production. For more productivity in wheat crop the requirements are: To ensure food security Export the surplus wheat crop Modern wheat storage methods


Faizan Javed, Sameer Mateen, Umair Javed khan Syed Imran Ahmed, Abdus Samad Iqbal

Miss Urooj