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Pakistan floods hit rice, cotton harvest, wheat planting, threaten global supplies


MY 2022-23 milled rice output could drop over 1 mil mt on year

Cotton output could decline 1 mil bales on year in MY 2022-23

Floods may hamper wheat sowing starting in October

Flooding in key Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan is likely to hurt the country's rice, cotton, and wheat output in marketing year 2022-23 (July-June), threatening global stockpiles of commodities as supply chains grapple with the disruption caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.

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Pakistan typically accounts for nearly 10% of global rice exports, according to the US Department of Agriculture. A decline in Pakistan's MY 2022-23 rice output is likely to lead to a severe global supply shortage after India banned broken rice exports Sept. 2. India and Pakistan are major suppliers of rice globally.

Pakistan is a net importer of wheat and cotton and may have to look for higher inflows of those commodities in an already tight global market.

Pakistan received 192.7 mm average rainfall in August, 243% above average, Pakistan Meteorological Department said in its monthly climate report. Sindh, a leading producer of rice and cotton, received 726% above average showers of 442.8 mm in August, while Punjab and Balochistan received 52% and 590% above average rains.

"The rice crop is hit badly in parts of Punjab and Sindh. Even if the water level goes down in the fields, it will take a few weeks to assess the crop condition," a Karachi-based trader said.

The USDA in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report Sept. 12 slashed Pakistan's MY 2022-23 milled rice production estimate by 1.1 million mt year on year to 8.40 million mt. The latest forecast is down 10% on the year.

Pakistan usually exports 4 million to 5 million mt rice annually, with the majority of it non-basmati variety. The USDA estimates the country's MY 2022-23 rice exports at 4.6 million mt out of global volumes of 53 million mt.

"Rice exports are likely to be lower this year as a significant portion of crop has been washed away due to the flood," a Lahore-based rice exporter said.

Pakistan usually ships rice to African and Middle East countries, such as Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

Cotton output hit

Global cotton supplies may come under strain as floods have washed away cotton plantations across Sindh, leading to a potential loss of 2 million bales of crop.

About 45% of the crop is damaged in Sindh, traders based in Sindh said.

Pakistan's may have to import an additional 200,000 bales of cotton in MY 2022-23, according to the USDA, leading to total imports of 4.8 million bales in the year.

The USDA cut Pakistan's MY 2022-23 cotton output by nearly 1 million bales from MY 2021-22 to 5 million bales. Apart from the planted crop loss, floods have destroyed nearly 1 million bales of crop, a trader said.

Pakistan's Central Cotton Research Institute has advised farmers to not pick wet cotton and separate the produce of wet pink bollworm cotton.

Wheat planting impact

Floods have affected soil conditions in Pakistan making it inappropriate for wheat plantation that starts in October.

A lack of acreage under wheat might lead to a potential drop in output of about 1 million mt, the USDA said, projecting Pakistan's MY 2022-23 wheat output at 26.4 million mt.

The USDA increased its estimates for Pakistan's MY 2022-23 wheat imports to 2.5 million mt, from 2.2 million mt in the previous year.

"For wheat ... the impact may be significant for the upcoming plantation season," an agricultural scientist with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council said. "The soil is impacted badly in Punjab and Sindh, which are key producers of rice in Pakistan."