KARACHI: A ship carrying 60,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia arrived at the Port Qasim while another ship carrying the grain from Ukraine was at the outer anchorage of Karachi port as the government scurried to bridge the demand and supply gap.

According to some local media reports, two ships carrying Russian wheat docked at the port, but private sector importers said one ship, MV LEVANTES, has anchored at Port Qasim.

According to Karachi Port Trust’s website, the second vessel Caravos Liberty — carrying 58,266 tonnes of grain — was near the port, but was yet to dock.

Media reports also quoted an announcement by the Ministry of National Food and Security as saying that two ships carrying Russian wheat had arrived at the port on Monday and that Pakistan would import a total 700,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia.

KPT says another vessel to arrive soon

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has imported 1.7 million tonnes of wheat in FY21. As per the government’s directive, the TCP had delivered one million tonnes to Punjab, 444,935 tonnes to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 117,528 tonnes to Sindh and 114,532 tonnes to Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) through tenders to stabilise the prices.

In FY22, TCP had imported 2.23mn tonnes, out of which 519,412 tonnes were delivered to KP and 1.684mn tonnes to Passco.

Pakistan has imported 1.1mn tonnes (valued at $460m) in July-November FY23 as compared to 1.02m tonnes ($340m) in the same period during FY22.

Cereal Association of Pakistan (CAP) chairman Muzammil Chappal recalled that the private sector had imported 1.5m tonnes in FY21 from Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Romania, and some other countries.

Despite repeated requests to further allow imports to stabilise flour rates, the government was not paying any attention, he added.

There was some respite from rising prices of flour as authorities intensified crackdown against hoarders, speculators and profiteers.

The price of a 100kg wheat bag in the open market on Monday plunged to Rs12,000 from Rs 13,000 last week.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2023

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