Pakistan in problem over as Ukraine was the main supplier of grains

Pakistan in problem over as Ukraine was the main supplier of grains

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Pakistan in problem over as Ukraine was the main supplier of grains

Pakistan has to spend a large portion of its annual budget to procure agricultural products, as per  a Research Associate at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

Pakistan is the 5th most populous country in the world and because of its burgeoning population, the demand for agricultural products is naturally high as well.

The country cannot “fully harness the potential of its agricultural sector” at present in view of several factors, including a low domestic yield because of natural disasters that affected the country earlier.

Pakistan’s agricultural imports are immense and currently exceeding US$8 billion annually. Import of agricultural products is a major part of Pakistan’s annual bill which is increasing each year . Therefore, Pakistan depends heavily upon imports of agricultural products.

“Pakistan is fulfilling most of the domestic demand for crops through local production” but the country still needs to procure certain crops, including wheat,” the expert stressed. Pakistan’s total wheat consumption has increased over the years, reaching 29.2 million metric tons in the current marketing year, while domestic production has decreased to 24.4 million metric tons.

Hence, there is  shortfall which is being catered to by the Government of Pakistan by importing wheat from different vendors.

Ukraine was the main supplier of grain to Pakistan in the 2021/22 financial year but after the start of the Russian special operation grain supplies stopped and Islamabad was forced to look for alternative suppliers.

Ever since the Russia-Ukraine conflict started in February last year, grain exports from Ukraine to Pakistan stopped immediately and no grain was being imported by Pakistan from Ukraine.  Ukraine was Pakistan’s primary grain supplier with imports reaching to 1.3 million metric tons in the marketing year 2021-22.

After the signing of the landmark Grain Export Deal in July 2022 between Russia and Ukraine, there was conversation in Islamabad about prospects of importing grain from Ukraine under this deal. However, such plans did not materialize.

Pakistan was forced to look for alternative suppliers of agricultural products in order to meet domestic demand.  Islamabad is now the fifth largest importer of Russian wheat.

Agreements on the export of food and fertilizers from Ukraine to the international markets were concluded on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul for 120 days. One of the agreements regulates the order of grain supplies from the Kiev-controlled ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny controlled by Kiev.

In addition, a memorandum was signed between Russia and the UN, which implies the obligations of the world organization to remove various restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets.

The grain deal has been repeatedly extended, the last time – on May 17 for 60 days. The Russian Foreign Ministry previously stated that the Russian part of the agreement is not being implemented.