ISLAMABAD: The wheat review committee on Monday recommended the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to set the minimum support price of wheat at Rs1,400 per 40 kilogramme for crop year 2019-20.
The committee also recommended provincial governments to ban the supply of wheat to the poultry sector for consumption as animal feed. During a meeting of the wheat review committee, chaired by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, it was decided to make recommendations to the ECC to increase the minimum support price for the wheat crop of 2019-20 from Rs1,365 to Rs1,400 per 40 kg.
The committee expressed satisfaction that there was a sufficient quantity of wheat stock in the country to cater to the needs of the population. It was informed that a stock of 2.235 million tons was available on March 6, 2020.
Deliberating on the procurement drive, the committee was apprised that Sindh would start procurement from March 15 whereas Punjab was expected to begin wheat purchase in April.
The committee decided to make recommendations to allow Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to procure wheat from the adjoining districts of Punjab.
It also asked provinces and Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) to timely procure wheat and meet the target of 8.25 million tons.
Of the total, 1.8 million tons will be purchased by Passco, 4.5 million tons by Punjab, 1.4 million tons by Sindh, 0.45 million tons by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 0.10 million tons by Balochistan.
The committee underlined the need for banning wheat supply to the poultry industry for feeding purposes in a bid to have sufficient wheat stock in the country for human consumption.
The committee also suggested that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) may be asked to facilitate flour millers in getting finances for the purchase of wheat.
In a presentation, the Meteorological Department cautioned the committee that expected inclement weather at the end of March may adversely affect the standing wheat crop, especially in central Punjab. The food security minister called for launching an awareness campaign so that farmers could take timely measures to protect their crops. He gave directives that standardised wheat bags, approved by Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), should be used to reduce crop wastage during transportation.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2020.
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