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Pakistan is wheat secure till next harvest: Food Ministry

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFSR) stated that Pakistan is wheat secure till the next harvest and claims of excessive shortage are fallacious.

It stated that 4.883 million metric tons (MMT) wheat is available with the public sector. The Provincial Crop Reporting Services have informed NFSR that there is a shortage of 1.6 MMT wheat.

The shortfall was decided to be met through import of wheat with a three-pronged strategy including importation through public, private and Government-to-Government (GTG) basis.

The public sector is importing wheat through GTG basis in two ways. Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) will provide 180,000 metric tonnes of GTG wheat in November.

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has received clearance from Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to import 340,000 MT of GTG wheat in the coming month. The imported quantities will be distributed amongst PASSCO, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in proportion to their requirements.

On the other hand, the public sector is importing wheat through TCP which has provided a schedule of 29 vessels that will arrive till January 2021 bringing an outsized amount of wheat in the country.

The NFSR said it is making its best efforts to overcome any future shortage of wheat in the country. State-owned TCP finalised deals to import 10,000,000 MT of wheat. TCP’s two cargoes have arrived in Pakistan. The first wheat consignment of 55,125 MT arrived on October 7 and the second shipment of 55,000 MT arrived on 8th October.

The 110,125 MT of wheat was forwarded to KPK for escalating the provincial wheat stock. Another wheat consignment, imported by TCP, is expected to reach Pakistan this week.

At the third tier, the private sector has till now imported 0.432 MT of wheat. Out of which 0.470 MMT has been discharged and distributed to Punjab (0.239 MTM), KPK (0.0105MMT) and Sindh (0.221 MMT).

The ministry said considering the pricing trend in local market, prices are reduced at around Rs.200 to 300 per 100 kilograms bag in all major city centres, adding thst its efforts are bearing fruit and it is working to build its wheat strategic reserves .

It said the government is also curbing black marketing and smuggling of wheat. At the present total stocks of public sector are 4,882,960 tons. With Punjab having stocks of 2,855,969 tons, Sindh at 1,259,395 tons, KPK having 90,035 tons, Balochistan having 63,100 and PASSCO contains 614,461 tons.

The ministry expressed satisfaction at the wheat stocks for next year wheat harvest being panned in a meticulous way that will forestall any potentially aversive situation.

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