Punjab set to get 0.5m ton wheat as row with centre ends

LAHORE: The “reported tug-of-war” between the federal and Punjab governments over the provision of wheat has been settled with the former agreed to provide the province with 0.5m tonnes of wheat, sources informed on Saturday.

According to the Punjab Food Ministry sources, the provision of wheat would help lower prices of wheat across the province.

The sources informed that the PML-N-led federal government has settled its “dispute” with the Punjab government over wheat provision, agreeing to provide 500,000 tonnes of wheat to the province on an urgent basis.

The Food Ministry sources said wheat prices have come down from Rs3,800 to Rs3,300, and would drop further to Rs3,000 in the coming weeks. The Federal government’s decision to provide Punjab wheat would discourage hoarders in Sindh, they added.

Flour mill owners would also lower prices as the smooth supply of wheat is restored and hoarding halts, the food ministry claims.

Earlier on September 13, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said that the federal government is ‘behaving like a stepmother’ toward the Punjab government, especially on the wheat provision matter.

The chief minister, in a session on September 13, ordered to register an official protest against the federal government for the ill-provision of wheat to the most populous province of the country.

Over 8.664 million tons wheat available

Strategic wheat stocks of the country are recorded at 8.644 million tons, which are sufficient to tackle with the domestic food requirements as well as maintain smooth demand and supply in local markets during current food year.

The food year in the country starts from May 1 to April 30 every year and government has also allowed import of 3 million tons of wheat to bridge the gap, said Food Security Commissioner (FSC) in Ministry of National Food Security and Research Dr Imtiaz Ali Gopang.

He said that traditionally government was releasing average 46,300 metric tons per-day, including 25,000 metric tons by Punjab, 10,000 metric tons by Sindh, 5,000 metric tons by Khyber Pakthunkhwa, 1,000 metric tons by Balochistan and average release of 5,300 metric tons by Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supply Corporation.

Out of total stock, about 5.143 million metric tons was available with Punjab, whereas Sindh has wheat stock of 933,006 metric tons.

He informed that the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have grains’ reserves of 233,606 metric tons and 29,630 metric tons respectively, adding that over 2.498 metric tons of wheat were available with PASSCO.

The FSC said that besides the public sector private sector had also procured over 3.172 million metric tons of wheat, out of which about 2.003 million metric tons have been grinded, adding that private sector reserves were so far recorded at 1.139 million metric tons.

 

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