ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan is expected to import 2.5 million tonnes of wheat in marketing year 2022-23, up from a previous forecast of 2 million tonnes, based on the government's international procurement intentions, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Based on the Pakistani government’s first official assessment, the marketing year 2022-23 (May-April), the wheat production forecast remains unchanged at 26.4 million tonnes, 4% less than last year. In an effort to replenish strategic reserves, the government has procured about 6.6 million tonnes of wheat from the domestic market, higher than the initial target. 

“A high population growth rate, high inflation and lack of affordability for milk, meat, and fruits has only increased the prominence of wheat-based products in the diet,” FAS Post Islamabad said. “Furthermore, government supports wheat use by offering subsidized flour at prices far below prevailing world market prices.”

As a result of the continued reliance on flour as a main source of calories in the traditional Pakistani diet, 2021-22 and 2022-23 wheat consumption estimates have been revised upward to 28.2 million tonnes and 29.2 million tonnes, respectively.

Meanwhile, due to water shortages in key producing areas during the early planting season, the rice production forecast for 2022-23 (November-October) is reduced from 9 million tonnes to 8.6 million tonnes. As a result of the strong pace of exports to date, the 2021-22 rice export is increased to a record 5.2 million tonnes.