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August 10, 2020

Wheat shortage

Newspost

 
August 10, 2020

This refers to the news story, 'Country no more self-sufficient in wheat, NA told' (June 26). According to the national food security minister, Syed Fakhar Imam, the National Assembly has been informed that Pakistan is no longer self-sufficient in wheat, as per acre yield or productivity had declined. He went on to elaborate that 25 million tonnes of wheat was produced this year against the target of 27 million tonnes, and to ensure that there is no shortage of the commodity and to keep its price stable, the government had allowed the private sector to import wheat. Our population quantum is more than self-sufficient at some 211 million heads, and it is still growing, whereas the harvest of our staple food crop has actually decreased from a high of 26-27 million tonnes recorded just two or three years ago.

This mismatch could cost us dearly in the near future, as issues could erupt such as food riots, price escalation, hoarding of the commodity, etc. There is every likelihood of such an event or events occurring, considering we are extremely adept at 'mismanaging' everything, doing little or no preparatory work, and pushing the blame, simply, on the so-called 'mafias'. So, please start ringing the alarm bells! We must aim to bring our population resource rapidly at par with our available resources, be it agriculture, industry, services, education, healthcare, or unemployment. Why should we aim to come to terms with everything else rather than the core issue of our ever-expanding head count?

Abbas R Siddiqi

Lahore