Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Country to face severe wheat crisis

Country to face severe wheat crisis’
KARACHI: Pakistan, Russia and Philippines are heading to face the worst food crisis in the next coming years, food experts at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Monday.

The food group prices will also register an increase of 20 percent in 30 low-income countries by 2012 while some of them will experience 40 percent price increase in essential food items, experts claimed.

They said the current world wheat production registered an overall decline of 5.1 percent while in the next year the production will stand at 647.7 million tonnes.

“Around 30 countries will face production shortfall in wheat, rice, maize and oilseed due to water scarcity, diversified climate conditions, locus attack, water logging and salinity and poor economic conditions of farmers,” an agro expert at Sindh Agriculture Forum said.

He said the world demand for wheat would stand around 669 million tonnes, which is not much alarming but the fact lies in poor use of pesticides, fertilizer and spurious seed in these countries. The government should take early measures to ensure supply of better and certified seeds and other agriculture inputs, he added.

He said in Pakistan rice production would stand at 2 million tonnes less as it would be cultivated on 871,000 hectares of land and irri-6 would be largely affected. He said export would also suffer by 40 percent.

He said overall world agriculture production would face a decline of six percent in the next year while the amount spent on all group of food imports globally would stand at $1,000 billion by the end of 2010.

Pakistan is in dire need of import of 400,000 tonnes of seed to start sowing wheat crop in the 2010-11 season and avert wheat crisis in the country.
“Around 500,000 metric tonnes of food seed has been washed away in flash floods in Punjab and Sindh,” he said.

He said the government should call for more international funds to save the upcoming wheat-planting season in Pakistan.

The government should take measures on war footing to import wheat seed in maximum time period otherwise the country would face a severe wheat crisis in 2011-12.

Pakistan has the least yield record of wheat per care in the world as 23 tonnes per acre whereas Germany has 65 tonnes per acre, France 62 tonnes per acre, USA 30 tonnes per acre, England 77 tonnes per acre, Egypt 61 tonnes per acre, Denmark 78 tonnes per acre, Netherlands 91 tonnes per acre, Japan 40 tonnes per acre, New Zealand 74 tonnes per acre and India has a capacity of 26 tonnes per acre yield.

There are estimates that show that 3.6 million hectares of standing sugarcane, rice, maize, and cotton crops were destroyed in the recent floods. The wheat prices in the world are around 45 percent down as compared to wheat prices in Pakistan and government instead of importing wheat should import wheat seed, he added.`

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