ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan’s wheat and rice sectors were challenged by the coronavirus (COVID-19), pests and rising domestic prices, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Pakistan’s planting for the upcoming wheat crop is expected to begin mid-October and the country plans to import 1 million tonnes of wheat during the current marketing year. The USDA attributes the uptick in wheat imports to Pakistan working to build its wheat reserves to recover from COVID-19 and locust attacks. Production for the 2020-21 market year is anticipated to total 25.7 million tonnes.

The USDA’s forecast for Pakistan’s rice production for the 2020-21 market year remains at 7.4 million tonnes. It did lower the country’s 2020-21 market year rice exports to 4 million tonnes due to an increase in domestic prices and the COVID-19 lockdown impact in certain export markets.