Wheat price in Pakistan touches historic high: report

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Combines load a truck with wheat during harvesting in a field of Triticum farm in Omsk region, Russia September 16, 2020. -REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Despite the government's efforts to control the rising inflation and ensure the availibality of the essential items in the country, the price of wheat touched a historic high of Rs2400 per 40kg for the first time in the history of Pakistan, The News reported Tuesday.

Last December the country had faced a severe situation when the wheat had been sold at the rate of Rs2000 per 40kg but the price of the commodity reached Rs2400 per 40kg on October 5 before the advent of December, the publication reported.

All Pakistan Flour Association has demanded the federal and provincial governments to immediately announce official purchase price of wheat as harvesting of wheat has started in Sindh and the same would start in Punjab in November.

On the other hand, farmers have demanded that the Seed Corporation should announce the price of certified seed and announce the price of 50kg bag seed within the next 24 hours.

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The flour association claimed that influential figures and not the owners of the mills were responsible for the shortage of wheat in the country.

Meanwhile, the government has approved the import of 200,000 metric tons of high standard wheat from Russia which would reach this month.

The Economic Coordination Committee had okayed the move under the GtoG arrangement in a bid to stabilize the prices of the commodity.

NPMC analyses price hike

Separately, the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Monday reviewed price mechanism for essential commodities and evaluated the reasons for the increase in their prices with particular focus on perishable items.

The NPMC meeting was held under the chairmanship of the special secretary finance, according to a press statement issued by the ministry.

The meeting was convened on the directions of the PM Office to discuss the abnormal variation in the prices of perishable items such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions as well as other essential items like wheat, sugar and chicken.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the provincial governments, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Commerce and National Food Security & Research (NFS&R) along with Competition Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The meeting was informed that CPI inflation year on year is recorded at 9.0 % in September 2020 as against 11.4% during the same month last year.

The meeting also noted that average inflation during July-September FY 2020-21 also showed a declining trend and recorded at 8.8% as compared to 10.1% same period last year.

It was, however, noted that the profit margin between wholesale and retail has risen especially in potatoes, tomatoes and onions which are affecting the common man.

It was observed during the meeting that an upward trend was witnessed in prices of perishable commodities during Sept-October 2020.

The reason cited for the upward pricing trend was unprecedented rainfall which adversely affected the local produce.

The price hike is likely to stabilize by November 2020 onwards when local produce would be available in the markets. It was observed with concern that the difference between wholesale and retail prices of the essential commodities is becoming a serious challenge for the provinces.