Provincial govt asked to announce wheat release policy

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has asked provincial governments to announce their wheat release policy in a bid to bring down and maintain prices of wheat and flour in local markets by ensuring smooth supply of grains to millers.

The announcement made on Wednesday is expected to help remove obstacles in demand and supply of grains, besides discouraging the malpractices of artificial price hikes and hoarding in local markets.

Talking to APP here on Wednesday, a senior official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that currently the local markets were operating on the routine mechanism and prices of the commodities including wheat and flour were determined on their demand and supply position.

He added that hoarding of grains to influence the market was the main reason behind price fluctuation.

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“As soon as the public sector intervenes in local markets, the demand and supply would be normalised and it would also bring stability in local prices of wheat and flour,” he said, adding that it would also discourage the elements involved in hoarding and profiteering of the commodity.

“So far, the public sector had not been intervening in markets and the local flour mills were purchasing wheat from open markets and prices of the commodity determined by the demand and supply,” he said.

The official said when the provincial governments announce their wheat release policy, the prices of the commodity and its preparations would bring down as well.

He assured that there are abundant wheat stocks of around 7 million tonnes available in the official stocks excluding the imported grains and these reserves were more than sufficient to meet with the local consumption demand for 7 months while bumper wheat crops had also been harvested during last season.

Besides the existing local strategic reserves, he said the Trading Corporation of Pakistan had also been asked to accelerate the pace of imports as it was assigned a task to import 3 million tonnes of wheat to further improve the local reserves and ensure smooth supply to maintain wheat and flour prices at a sustainable level.

Meanwhile, giving details of local wheat stocks, he said that by September 15, there were about 6,162,156 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat available for local consumption.

Punjab has over 3.690 million tonnes of wheat with its carry forward stocks of 457,000 tonnes and Sindh has 1.259 million tonnes with carrying forward stocks of 50,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have 135,476 tonnes and 85,925 MT of grains, respectively.

Furthermore, the Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supplies Corporation (PASSC) has 538,263 metric tonnes of wheat in its stocks, besides carrying forward 201,234 metric tonnes by the period under review.

It is worth mentioning here that the Punjab government had also established 337 Sahulat Bazaars and has so far, supplied 4,859,715 bags of wheat flour at the subsidised rate of Rs430 per 10kg bag.

Additionally, the private sector has so far procured 2.709 MMT of wheat and after grinding, a quantity of 0.860 million metric tonnes is still in the balance.

 

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