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Ministry of National Food Security and Research has said wheat procurement drive is slow this year, suggesting that law enforcement agencies may be sensitized to curb hoarding and price hike.
During the last three years, the public sector has procured wheat on an average of 5.51 million tons against the assigned average target of 6.47 million tons showing procurement achievement of 85 per cent. However, last year the achievement declined to 65 percent of the procurement target, due the multiple factors. Considering the local consumption of 27 million tons per annum, this year public sector target has enhanced the target to 8.25 million tons, endorsed by the provincial governments.
Passco and Provincial Food Department have so far reported their wheat procurement at the level of 2.372 million tons or 28.75 per cent of the assigned targets as on April 30, 2020.
Ministry of National Food Security and Research is of the view that pace of procurement drive is slow. Punjab and Sindh have reported that their wheat harvesting at around 61 per cent and 89 per cent respectively. The Ministry has sensitized the provincial government on achieving their procurement targets. In this context two meetings were convened on April 10, 2020 and April 20, 2020 via video link, under the chairmanship of Minister for National Food Security and Research. Public sector wheat stocks are at the level of 0.616 million tons as on April 30, 2020 as compared to stocks of 3.777 million tons of the corresponding period of last year.
Ministry of National Food Security and Research has suggested that "wheat procurement monitoring committee, may rationalize its monitoring mechanism on the public sector's wheat procurement drive and Provincial Food Departments may be directed to achieve their assigned wheat procurement targets, actively. It has also suggested that law enforcement agencies may be sensitized to curb hoarding and price hike of wheat.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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