Ijaz Kakakhel Islamabad
Pakistan is confronting three million tons shortfall of wheat crop and the assessment revealed that wheat crop production would be about 26 million tons while the demand is about 29 million tons.
The national assembly standing committee on commerce expressed its displeasures over the decline trend in wheat crop, which converted the country from exporter to importer.
Chairman of the Committee Syed Naveed Qamar claimed that it was all due to wrong policies adopted by the federal government.
The Sindh government has fixed Rs2000 per 40 kg of wheat while the federal recently enhanced the wheat procurement price to Rs1800/40 kg from earlier Rs1650/40 kg.
Briefing the committee on wheat, Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research Ghufran Memon said the federal ministry proposed earlier Rs1800/40 kg as wheat support price at the time of sowing.
Giving production, and demand supply figure of wheat crop, the secretary said that the deficit of three million tons wheat would meet through import.
He also said that import of the commodity would be usually done from Russian, Ukrine and other countries.
Currently, the wheat price was lower in international market, therefore, the secretary said that the government would floating tender of about one million tons.
He said hopefully, the wheat would be obtained at $220 to 250 per million tons. Memon also said that the imported wheat would arrived the country by August 2021.
To a question, the committee was informed that PASSCO has done some wheat procurement in Sindh at a rate of Rs1800 per 40 kg.
Chairman of the Committee, Syed Naveed Qamar has expressed serious concern on the current import of wheat, when local wheat is started arriving in the market.
He said that the figures showed that the imported wheat was more expensive than the local market, adding consequences would start next year when nobody would be ready to sow the crop.
He said “This permanent cycle of import of wheat, the government is providing incentives to others instead our own growers and the situation is against whole agriculture sector and the economy of Pakistan.”The committee also discussed the issues relating to import of Cotton.
The committee expressed dissatisfaction over the expected cotton crop which was about 6 million bales against the target of 12 million bales. The committee termed the cotton situation was worry some and unfortunate for economy.
The Ministry of Commerce informed the committee that due to less Cotton production, domestic production of Cotton yarns had remained low which resulted yarn shortage and subsequently high yarn prices. Value-added sector is not able to cover yarn to materialize export orders.