ISLAMABAD: The country is currently well-stocked with wheat reserves as both the federal and provincial food departments have reported a total stock of 6.934 million tonnes of wheat, the national food security ministry said in a statement on Friday.

These reserves are sufficient for the country’s essential needs until May 2024 when the new crop harvest reaches the market, the statement said. It added that Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) has a stock of 1.78 million tonnes, Punjab 4.021m tonnes, Sindh 0.817m tonnes, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.227m tonnes and Balochistan 0.089m tonnes.

The private sector has initiated wheat procurement due to its confidence in the federal government’s support. Currently, more than 700,000 tonnes of wheat has been procured within the country, with expectations of an additional 1.2m tonnes to be procured, the statement says.

The federal government has assured full cooperation to the private sector to ensure a steady supply of wheat until the arrival of the new crop. The supply and price situation for wheat has improved and there is no shortage of the commodity in any part of the country.

Wheat prices, which were previously Rs4,800 per maund a month ago, have now fallen to Rs4,300-Rs4,400.

The possibility of further price reductions is also anticipated that would help lessen the common man’s financial burden and improve their purchasing power, the statement concluded.

The Crop Prospects and Food Situation report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says prices of wheat flour were at near record levels in most markets in September.

In Pakistan, the area planted with wheat crop for 2024 is forecast at a level well above the five-year average, driven by record prices, while good supplies of quality seeds, fertilisers and herbicides augur well for yields, the FAO report says.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2023

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