New wheat release policy draws mixed reaction

July 04, 2020

LAHORE:The Punjab wheat release policy has drawn mixed reaction from flour mill owners as differences largely persists over quantity of grains to be issued for grinding purposes.The ruling group of...

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LAHORE:The Punjab wheat release policy has drawn mixed reaction from flour mill owners as differences largely persists over quantity of grains to be issued for grinding purposes.

The ruling group of Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) while rejecting the new wheat policy of the Punjab government has decided that their members will not enter into an agreement with the food department nor will they pick wheat from government warehouses as per new issuance arrangements. This policy will create a new flour crisis in the province, an office-bearer of PFMA said here on Friday night.

On the other hand, another group of flour milling industry asked the Punjab government to release wheat for grinding under a liberal issue policy, terming it a panacea for all ills ranging from pilferage of grains to flour price hike.

If market players are given wheat as per their actual demand for grinding, the ghost mills will automatically quit the market as functional mills will not be dependent on them for meeting their grain requirements anymore, said leaders of Progressive Flour Mill body.

“The flour mills of our group are willing to lift quota of wheat under the new issuance policy,” said Khaleeque Arshar and Majid Abdullah.

The ruling group of PFMA, however, outright rejected the government wheat issuance policy. Addressing a press conference, Asim Raza, PFMA chairman, Abdul Rauf Mukhtar, PFMA Punjab president and others complained that the provincial government completely ignored the recommendations which were shared with Food Department in a consultative meeting.

In addition, they said, the rate of 20 kg flour bag in retail will now be determined by the ratio of the rate of wheat in the open market until the demands are met. They hinted at increase in flour bag price as per the rising trend in wheat rates.

According to the association, the policy of issuing wheat on the basis of urban population is totally wrong and is tantamount to inviting crisis on its own. They claimed that the flour mills in small districts of the province are going to be deprived of uniform quota of wheat at the cost of a few large cities, making it impossible to run flour mills by members of PFMA. Resultantly, they added, the supply of flour in the market will be severely affected.

PFMA leaders said that the bureaucracy, based on the report of the JIT committee set up by the federal government for the implementation of wheat quota for flour mills, has taken decisions which are against flour mills. The upcoming Wheat issuance policy has flaws which needs intervention,” they observed.

The millers also expressed reservations over low issuance rate, saying it will discourage import of wheat in the country, which may spark another flour crisis in the days to come.



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