Adequate wheat, flour available: Khusro Bakhtiar

1,162 wheat purchase centres established across country

​ Our Correspondent March 20, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The government would heavily procure wheat this season, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar said on Thursday, reassuring consumers that there was no need for panic as sufficient wheat and flour were available in the country.

The minister chaired a meeting via video link on the arrangements made for the procurement of wheat, which was also attended by the food ministers of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa besides officials of relevant departments.

The government has set the wheat procurement target for Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) at 1.8 million tonnes, for Punjab at 4.5 million tonnes, for Sindh at 1.4 million tonnes, for Balochistan at 1 million tonnes and for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa at 0.45 million tonnes.

The minimum support price for wheat has been set at Rs1,400 per 40 kg.

The meeting was informed that 1,162 wheat purchase centres had been established throughout the country and district administrations in all the provinces had been ordered to take strong action in order to curb any hoarding of the commodity.

It was agreed that the procurement of wheat by feed millers and non-players like rice millers and cotton ginners should be banned.

The minister gave directives for devising a daily or weekly monitoring mechanism to evaluate the procurement targets.

“There is sufficient supply of wheat and flour in the country and the government is also going to procure heavily in this season,” Bakhtiar said. “There is no need to panic as satisfactory reports have been given by provincial food ministers and representatives of food departments regarding supply of flour and wheat in all provinces.”

The minister called for following directives given by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) regarding inter-provincial agreements on the quantity and price of wheat crop so that cost-sharing by all the provinces should be rationalised.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2020.

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