DUBAI (Reuters) - Pakistan will not import wheat this year as government incentives to farmers will likely lead to an excess supply of the grain, an official from the ministry of agriculture said on Sunday. Pakistan, Asias third-largest wheat producer, hopes to have an excess supply of 2-2.5 tonnes of wheat this year compared to last, said Amjad Nazir, the joint secretary at Ministry of Food and Agriculture. There will be no need for us to import wheat this year because the ministry has raised the minimum price of wheat for farmers which encouraged them to allocate more land to grow wheat, he told Reuters during a visit to the United Arab Emirates to encourage investment into the sector. In September, Pakistan raised the price it pays farmers for wheat by 34 percent to 950 rupees per 40 kg, in a bid to encourage them to grow more. The wheat-growing area had increased this year to 9 million hectares from an average of 8.5 million in previous years. On average, Pakistan imports around 2 million tonnes of wheat every year. This year, wheat production is expected to reach 24 million tonnes compared to 21.8 million tonnes a year earlier, which had forced the government to import wheat to cover the shortfall, said Nazir. We are in good shape this year and this is the first step in becoming a self sufficient food producer, which is one of the main objectives of the ministry, he added. Last week, Qadir Bukhsh Baluch, wheat commissioner at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said that the country is unlikely to export wheat this year, despite the surplus in supply in order to protect domestic businesses dependent on the grain such as flour mills. Pakistan imposed a ban on wheat exports in 2007 because of shortages and higher prices at home. This year, one of the top priorities for the ministry is to turn Pakistan into a self-sufficient food producer, said Nazir. This will not happen unless we attract foreign investment into this sector, he said. Every year the country produces around 6 million tonnes of fruit and 5.3 tonnes of vegetables. About 30 per cent of this production is wasted because we dont have the refrigerators or coolers to transport them, which is such a shame, said Nazir. He added that Pakistan is one of the worlds largest producers of milk, of which a large portion is wasted. If anyone comes to Pakistan and invests in a few coolers to transport this food, hell become a millionaire overnight because its such an untapped business, said Nazir. The problem is that people are always wary of investing in agriculture because its business which is dependent on nature and therefore returns cannot always be accurately calculated.