ISLAMABAD: Ahead of wheat harvesting season, Ministry of National Food Security and Research on Thursday proposed restrictions on intra-district movement of wheat crop and ban on private sector from procuring the crop until public sector targets are achieved.
The meeting, chaired by Minister for National Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar reached a consensus on stopping wheat procurement by feed millers, rice mills and ginners.
The wheat procurement target for Passco has been set at 1.8 million tonnes, while Punjab will procure 4.5m, Sindh 1.4m, Balochistan 1m, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 0.45m.
The government has already approved minimum support price of Rs1,400 per 40kg.
The meeting was informed that 1,162 wheat purchase centres have been established throughout the country and district administrations in all provinces have been ordered to take strong legal action against hoarders.
Punjab and Sindh governments will begin public procurement of wheat from Mar 25 subject to weather conditions. The procurement will be done on first-come-first-serve basis.
Food Security Minister Bakhtyar directed the officials at the meeting to devise daily or weekly monitoring procedures to evaluate procurement targets and asked them to follow directions given by the Economic Coordination Committee related to intra-provincial agreements defining the quantity and price of wheat crop so that cost-sharing among the provinces can be rationalised.
He said that there is sufficient supply of wheat and wheat flour across the country and government is also going to procure heavily during the coming wheat harvesting season. There is no need to panic as reports from food ministers and representatives of food departments regarding supply of flour and wheat in all provinces have been satisfactory, he added.
It was decided that another meeting will be held in the first week of April to review arrangements made by all provinces to assure their procurement position.
The meeting was attended by Ministry of National Food Security and Research Secretary Dr Muhammad Hashim Popalzai, agriculture ministers of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) managing director besides secretaries of food departments from Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2020