KARACHI: Having jacked up prices of various varieties for the third time before the advent of Ramazan, the flour millers on Monday warned Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of looming food crisis.
After failing to get any response from the provincial food minister and secretary food despite repeated attempts, Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Sindh Chapter chairman Mohammad Jawed Yusuf wrote a letter to the chief minister informing him that bad weather had damaged a major portion of Punjab wheat crop which is not suitable for milling.
About 75 per cent of the country’s wheat requirement is met by Punjab wheat crop.
“About 20,000 tonnes of wheat is being shifted from Sindh to other provinces daily, thus putting pressure on available stocks in the open market,” he stated in the letter.
The association claimed that last year’s wheat stocks were not properly stored, while no fumigation was done. Stock figures were incorrect as about 50 per cent stocks were not available physically. On papers, Sindh has 800,000 tonnes of last year’s wheat stocks.
The PFMA chief pointed out another alarming aspect as this year the Sindh Food Department has decided not to procure wheat stocks.
Yusuf said it is high time to decide about the wheat crop situation of Sindh and ways to tackle the legal complication and hindrance to seal Sindh-Punjab borders immediately.
He asked the chief minister to convene an urgent meeting to discuss facts about wheat season 2019-20, non-procurement of wheat by Sindh Food Department, position of previous wheat stocks and transfer of 20,000 tonnes of wheat daily to other provinces.
Millers had raised the rate of flour No.2.5 to Rs36.50 from Rs35 per kg followed by price hike in fine and super fine flour to Rs40 from Rs38.50 per kg.
From last week of April till to date, the price of flour no.2.5 has risen by Rs3 per kg followed by Rs3.50 per kg in fine and super fine flours respectively.
Millers attributed price hike to rising price trend of wheat, which now stood at Rs3,350 per 100 kg bag in the open market versus Rs3,000 some three weeks back.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2019