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October 17, 2020

Ample wheat is available with public sector: food ministry

Peshawar

October 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFSR) on Thursday claimed that ample wheat stock is available with public sector and plenty is also coming in via import; resultantly there should be no wheat shortage.

The wheat production for this year is 25.249 million metric tons. At the present total hand stocks with public sector are 4.93 million tons. Of this, Punjab having stocks of 2.89 million tons, Sindh 1.26 million tons, KP 88,045 tons, Balochistan 65,082 tons and PASSCO holds 627,173 tons, the Ministry released the data here Thursday. The provincial crop reporting services informed NFSR that there is shortage of 1.6 million tons. Deficit was decided to be met through import of wheat through public, private and G2G basis. State-owned Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) is bringing 217,125 tons of wheat in October in four vessels. In November 180,000 tons of G2G wheat from Russia to reach Pakistan in three ships, while 12 ships will be brought by TCP in December, hauling 600,000 tons of wheat. Similarly in January, 13 more vessels of TCP will arrive at Pakistan with 680,000 tons. Therefore, public sector is bringing in 1.677 million tons of imported staple. NFSR is also planning to augment strategic reserves of wheat to offset any future challenges.

Giving breakup on upcoming cargoes from private sector, the ministry said the country has also received 437,078 tons of imported wheat by private sector in September. In October, six vessels with 360,000 tons of wheat will reach Pakistan. In November, private sector will fetch 180,000 tons of wheat in three ships. In December, two ships carrying 120,000 tons of wheat will arrive to the country. Consequently, private sector will import more than 1 million tons of wheat. The ministry believes that the country will have more than sufficient wheat till January. And claims of wheat shortage are being exploited by vested interest.

On the other hand, the ministry is planning to increase wheat yield through planning in coming years. For this it is focusing on giving better seed to the farmers. Farmers are advised to cultivate maximum area with approved seed to achieve higher yield per acre. NFSR has identified certified wheat seed for first time to make country wheat secure. The Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD) has certified 5,15000 tons of seed for this year. For back up, FSC&RD has tested 200,000 tones seed from PASSCO. Punjab Food Department has tested 150,000 tones seed for emergency. NFSR has also submitted summary of improved Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat to ECC. Coupled with government’s efforts to curb hoarding and smuggling in recent months, the ministry views the situation to improve a lot in coming days.