ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Tuesday approved 500,000 tons of wheat exports only a month after the same quantity was exported to shed the surplus stocks.
The ECC took the decision during a meeting attended by the Finance Minister Asad Umar.
The committee discussed the proposal submitted by the ministry of national food security and research regarding export of surplus wheat/products as requested by provincial governments of the Punjab and Sindh and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Ltd. (Passco).
“The committee granted approval for export of 0.5 million tons of wheat by Passco and both provincial governments,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
It was decided that any financial support for freight requested for the purpose will be provided by the respective provincial governments. Federal government will pick up such costs in case of Passco. The latest export permission was the second during the current fiscal year of 2018/19. Earlier, the government allowed 0.5 million tons of wheat/wheat production exports with a freight subsidy of $150 metric tons through Passco till September 30.
The government set wheat production target of 25.6 million tons for the ongoing winter season compared to 25.49 million tons produced during the last year. The production is still more than the local demand of 24 to 25 million tons.
The government bought 5.9 million tons of wheat during the last season, which was three percent down compared to the target set at the onset of harvest and six percent less than the previous year’s procurement of 6.28 million tons. “At a procurement price of $310 per metric ton, producers who receive the government support price are among the better compensated wheat growers globally,” the United States Department of Agriculture said in a report.
“In spite of lower-than-targeted procurement, the government held 10.8 million tons of wheat at the start of the local marketing year, one of the highest beginning stock levels on record.”
The Economic Coordination Committee’s meeting decided to revise up wheat exports quota if any need arises.
“A committee comprising senior officials from commerce, finance and food security will review the situation within two week’s time and make recommendation for further exports, if required,” the finance ministry added.
Pakistani wheat is in high demand in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Gulf, the Far East and Myanmar markets because of rich protein content of 11 to 12 percent in line with the international standards.
The country exported 1.189 million tons of wheat and fetched $236.339 million during the last fiscal year. The export of wheat continued to increase year-over-year owing to bumper crops. Wheat exports, however, amounted to $1.038 million tons, and were recorded at 3,937 tons in the preceding fiscal year of 2016/17.