Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Two ships carrying Russian wheat dock at Karachi port

The ships bring 300,000 tonnes of total 700,000 wheat from Russia, according to ministry of food security

YM Summit vessel carrying over 60,800 metric tonnes of wheat from Ukraine docked at Karachi Port — Cereal Association of Pakistan
YM Summit vessel carrying over 60,800 metric tonnes of wheat from Ukraine docked at Karachi Port — Cereal Association of Pakistan

  • Russia supplying 700,000 tonnes of wheat.
  • Russian wheat expected to soften flour crisis.
  • Flour price across Pakistan soars to Rs130/kg.

KARACHI: Two cargo ships carrying 300,000 tonnes of wheat, the first consignment from Russia, docked at Port Qasim on Monday as the government struggles to bridge the demand and supply gap in the country.

According to the ministry of food security, the remaining 400,000 tonnes of the total 700,000 tonnes of Russian wheat will reach Gwadar port by March 30.

The arrival of the Russian wheat is expected to soften the ongoing flour crisis in the country after surging inflation and worsening economic conditions sent flour prices through the roof recently.

Flour price across Pakistan has soared to Rs130 per kg, fine flour to Rs150 per kg, while Chakki flour is being sold at Rs160 per kg in some places.

Subsidised 10-20kg flour bags are in short supply across the country, while dual grain rates have given rise to black markets.

In Sindh and Balochistan, flour prices have gone up to over Rs150 per kg, while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) a 20kg flour bag is being sold at a record price of Rs3,000 per bag. The flour prices are reportedly higher in Gilgit Baltistan, and Azad and Jammu Kashmir.

Pakistan’s flour crisis has escalated due to a worsening macroeconomic situation, depleting foreign exchange reserves, and the destruction of wheat crops in the floods.

Stampedes at flour sale points

People are struggling to get a single bag of the daily-use commodity and stampedes have also been reported at sale points in several parts of the country as the people endeavour to get subsidised flour bags.

Last week, The News reported the death of a peasant in a stampede during the sale of subsidised flour in Mirpurkhas.

Several others were injured in similar incidents in Badin and Shaheed Benazirabad, which led to protests. As per details, several hundred people had gathered to purchase a 10-kg flour bag at the subsided rate of Rs65 from the sale point in Mirpurkhas.

The rush resulted in another stampede and the eventual death of Harsingh alias Gulahi Bheel, 37. He was the father of seven, including six daughters.

Similarly, in Tando Bago, district Badin, two women, among several others, were injured after the police baton-charged the crowd gathered to buy flour at subsided rates.

In Sakrand, Shaheed Benazirabad, three women were injured during a stampede while purchasing subsidised flour from a makeshift shop. Afterwards, people protested on the roads in various districts against the steep rise in the prices of flour and other essential commodities.