According to media reports, a ship carrying 50,000 tonnes of wheat is scheduled to arrive at Post Qasim on August 19. The country has become a net wheat importer this year with purchases climbing to the highest in five years after delayed planting and reduced fertiliser use hit domestic output and drove up local prices. According to the US Department of Agriculture, wheat production slid to 23.3 million tonnes in 2012-13, the lowest in four years and down from 25 million tonnes a year ago. Output in 2013-14 is estimated at 24 million tonnes.
According to the Chairman Agriculture Forum of Pakistan, the country used to export the grain around three to four years ago. However, the cost of agricultural inputs, including seeds, fertilisers and rising fuel costs have reduced the crop size. In view of the above, there is a strong need for the government to: 1) focus on the agriculture sector; and 2) upwardly revise the support price of wheat for the 2015 crop so that the farmers can get fair returns for their wheat crop 2015 and sustain their interest in bringing more area under the crop in the years to come.