Thursday May 23, 2024

Trade body warns country may face wheat crisis

By Our Correspondent
May 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A trade body on Monday warned of wheat crisis in the country , urging the government to ban wheat exports to stabilise the wheat prices and cater to supply gaps.

“Looming wheat gap within the country currently seems prepared to morph into a full-blown crisis over the approaching months,” said Ahmad Jawad vice president Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF)

PBF urged provincial food departments to monitor wheat purchase by the private sector and curb involvement of middlemen to avoid hoarding. The explanations embodied domestic output inadequacy and billowy international costs within the wake Ukraine issue. The flour costs were probably to rise additional if the govt remained unable to manage imports and take action against hoarders, it added.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been educated that this wheat harvest is probably going to hover around 26.2 million tonnes against the target of 28.9 million tonnes.” The forum said the government could have to import a minimum of 3m tonnes of grain to stabilise the market and meet the demand of 30.8 million tonnes, despite a carryover stock of 1m ton.

PBF said import could surpass estimates, pushed by wheat being black into Afghanistan, adding that market players had decried wheat imports in the extended quantity. “One, the cereal is briefly provided globally owing to a poor harvest, secondly, Pakistan doesn't have enough bucks to get costly imports with the nation’s foreign currency reserves plunging to $10.5bn on the widening trade and accounting deficits.”

“What will wheat shortages and costly imports mean for the shoppers,” the group questioned. The flour millers have already raised their costs in Punjab by Rs11 per weight unit supported the open market wheat value of Rs2,200 per 40kg when the termination of official releases.

Punjab had been providing wheat to the millers at the subsidised value of Rs1,950 per 40kg, that was additional slashed to Rs1,600 for the primary twenty days of Ramazan. “The flour inadequacy within the market and also the high value of the artifact could increase food insecurity within the country, particularly within the additional backward and poorer districts of the country, unless the govt proactively ensures its convenience at subsidized rates.”

Jawad cried for wheat shortages and increasing imports, and asked for immediate measures to deal with factors such as water shortage, poor farm management practices, global climate change, and carbamide inconvenience, which had bogged down the agriculture sector.