Report Highlights: 

Recent field travel suggests that floods damaged about 80,000 hectares (3 percent) of Pakistan’s rice area and reduced production by 200,000 metric tons. Flood waters receded relatively quickly in Punjab and flooding was not as severe as anticipated in Sindh. Exports are forecast marginally lower for 2014/15. An estimated 500,000 metric tons of on-farm wheat stocks were damaged by late monsoon rains and flooding, resulting in an expected increase in the use of wheat for animal feed. Recent rains and floods bode well for the planting of the 2014/15 wheat crop.

Pakistan 2014 Wheat Planting Outlook Looks Promising 

The key agricultural provinces of Punjab and Sindh have been affected by flooding over the past few weeks, but the outlook for 2014 wheat planting remains promising. The floods are likely to recede over the next week, just in time for farmers to prepare for wheat planting. Planting in Sindh typically starts in the middle of October and the bulk of planting in Punjab is done after the second week of November. Floods have improved the water availability situation for Rabi (winter) crops and both the major water reservoirs at Mangla and Tarbela are filled to capacity. Floods also deposit a rich layer of soil in affected areas thus helping in maintaining yields for the next Rabi season. 

Half a Million Tons of Farmers’ Wheat Affected by Floods 

Marketing year 2014/15 wheat production is estimated at 25.0 million metric tons (MMT) reflecting the general consensus within the industry. An estimated 500,000 MT of 2014/15 wheat stored on farm was adversely affected by late monsoon rains and floods. Most of this wheat will not be fit for human consumption and is expected to be used as feed, resulting in a higher feed consumption estimate. 

Wheat Import Estimate Raised 

Pakistan’s 2014/15 wheat imports are estimated at 600,000 MT, up 300,000 MT from the previous FAS Islamabad forecast, but significantly lower than the USDA Washington estimate. The higher imports reflect the expectation from traders in Karachi (Pakistan’s largest city with a population of 24 million) that imports to meet the needs of the flour milling industry in southern Pakistan will increase from the lower levels previously forecast by FAS Islamabad . The imported wheat will cater to consumers in Karachi and also for the industry to manufacture specialized products like pasta and noodles. According to trade sources Pakistan has already imported around 200,000 MT of wheat during the current marketing year. The wheat is mainly being sourced from Black Sea ports at an average price of $280/ton (C&F Karachi) according to local trade sources. The wheat export estimate is unchanged at 700,000 MT, with the major portion of it, 600,000 MT, going to Afghanistan in the form of wheat flour (the export estimate is grain equivalent). 

Floods affecting Rice Crop 

According to initial reports about 80,000 hectares of rice fields were affected by the recent floods. Flood waters are receding from the rice areas of Punjab but the flood surge is now passing through the province of Sindh, albeit at a lower than expected level. This is the fourth flood since 2010 to hit the rice growing areas of Pakistan. 2014/15 rice production is forecast marginally lower at 6.5 MMT due to the effects of flooding. Initial reports suggest that Basmati growing tract Including Sialkot, Narrowal and Gujranwala districts were the hardest hit, but flood waters receded quickly minimizing the extent of the damage. 

2013/14 and 2014/15 rice export estimates are also lowered to 3.7 MT reflecting the pace of exports and lower production respectively. The increase in the MY13/14 production figure is adjusted slightly upward to 6.7 MT, in accordance with the government data