Tuesday December 07, 2021

Ministry says Pakistan wheat secure till next harvest

October 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of food security on Friday rejected reports of excessive wheat shortage in the country, saying the government holds 4.9 million tons of the staple.

Total stocks of the public sector are 4.88 million tons, said the ministry. Punjab has stocks of 2.9 million tons, Sindh 1.3 million tons, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 90,035 tons, Balochistan 63,100 tons and Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (Passco) contains 614,461 tons.

“Pakistan is wheat secure till the next harvest. The situation regarding wheat is looking satisfactory and for the next year wheat harvest is planned in a meticulous way that will forestall any potentially aversive situation,” it said in a statement. “We are working to build wheat strategic reserves. Government is also curbing black-marketing and smuggling of wheat.”

The provincial crop reporting services said there is a shortage of 1.6 million tons, which would be met through import of wheat by public and private sectors and on a government-to-government basis. The food security ministry said wheat prices fell around Rs200 to 300/100 kilogram bag in all major city centres.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated 80 percent of farmers grow wheat on a total of about nine million hectares – close to 40 percent of the country’s total cultivated land. “Pakistan’s primary production area suggests that yields of about 6 tons/ha could be attained, compared with current yields of 2.5 to 3 tons/hectare,” it said in a report.

The food security ministry said Passco will bring 180,000 tons of wheat under government-to-government arrangement in November. TCP got clearance from the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet to import 340,000 tons of wheat too under the government-to-government arrangement.

The imported quantities will be distributed amongst Passco, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in proportion to what they have ordered/ demanded. On the other hand the public sector is importing wheat through TCP which provided a schedule of 29 vessels that will arrive till January bringing an outsized amount of wheat in the country. “We are making best efforts to overcome any future shortage of wheat in the country,” said the food security ministry.

State-owned TCP finalised deals to import one million tons of wheat .TCP’s two cargoes have arrived in Pakistan. TCP’s first wheat consignment of 55,125 tons arrived on 7th October and the second shipment of 55,000 tons arrived on 8th October. This wheat was forwarded to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for escalating the provincial wheat stock. Another wheat consignment, imported by TCP, is expected to reach Pakistan this week. Private sector has till now imported 432,000 tons of wheat. Out of which 470,000 tons has been discharged and distributed to Punjab (239,000 tons), Sindh (221,000 tons) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (10,500 tons).