Can't connect right now! retry
Tuesday Jan 21 2020

'No shortage of wheat,' Food security minister tells Senate

National Food Security and Research Minister, Khusro Bakhtiar. Photo:

ISLAMABAD: National Food Security and Research Minister, Khusro Bakhtiar, on Tuesday told the Senate that there was no shortage of wheat in the country as four million tonnes of the product were available in the public sector, as a flour crisis emerged a few days ago.

Winding the debate on flour and wheat crises in Pakistan, the minister said that the artificial crisis came about as a result of a disturbance in the supply chain.

Bakhtiar highlighted that a mechanism was evolved with the collaboration of provincial governments to overcome the current artificial wheat and flour crisis in the country.

He said that there was no shortage of wheat reserves in the country and that wheat supply had been increased to the provinces to cater to the existing crisis.

Read more: How the wheat crisis unfolded across Pakistan

"Wheat supply to Sindh had been enhanced to 10,000-12,000 tonnes daily from the stock of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO).

"Similarly, around 5000 tonnes of wheat is also being supplied to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on a daily basis from the government and private sector stock," the minister said.

Bakhtiar added that the price of flour was gradually decreasing in Sindh, Punjab and KPK.

He said the Sindh government’s failure to timely lift wheat from the PASSCO, and the recent goods transporters strike had caused the artificial crisis in the province.

He said the Sindh government had failed to procure “even a single grain of wheat” this year even though its target was set at 700,000 tonnes.

Read more: Wheat 'smuggled, exported to benefit friends': Pervaiz Rasheed

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government was receiving 2,000 tonnes of wheat every day while Sindh was lifting only 150 tonnes, the minister added.

He said the federal government had approved 400,000 tonnes of wheat for Sindh, but the province had only lifted around 100,000 tonnes.

The minister also said that by the end of the season, 850,000 tonnes of wheat in stock will be available next year.

The minister said the government had increased the wheat support price to Rs1,365 from Rs1,300 per 40 kilograms.

He added that the government had set a target of eight million tonnes of wheat procurement for the next year.