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KARACHI: Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema Monday said that the federal government has decided to assess the wheat stocks in the province so as to ascertain shortage for importing wheat well in time.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema in their meeting at Cm House discussed available wheat stock, new crop harvested recently and further requirements so that necessary import could be made in time.

The meeting was attended by Minister Food Mukesh Chawla, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, provincial Secretary Food Raja Khurram Shahzad, Wheat Commissioner Ministry of Food Security Imtiaz Gopang, Special Secretary to CM Rahim Shaikh and others.

The chief minister welcomed Cheema in the province and thanked him for his timely intervention to assess wheat stocks and production of new crops so that necessary measures could be taken to meet the shortage, if any.

Shah said that the production target of the province was 3.8 MT against a requirement of 4.7 MTs, including for seed. He added that the shortfall of 0.9 MT was met by purchasing wheat from Punjab or from the Passco. “Our shortfall is usually met by the private sector,” the CM said.

Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial government has set a procurement target of 1.4 MT against a support price of Rs5,500 per 100 kg. “We are purchasing wheat from the growers so that a comparatively better price benefit can pass to them,” he said.

Provincial Food Minister Mukesh Chawla said that there were higher prices of wheat in the open market. He added that open market price as on May 5, 2022 has been recorded at Rs6,000 in Karachi, Rs5,700 Hyderabad, 5,850 Mirpurkhas, Rs5,800 Shaheed Benazirabad and Rs5,700 Larkana.

Secretary Food Raja Khurram said that the provincial government was planning to purchase 250,000 MT from PASSCO and may also purchase wheat from Punjab.

The federal minister urged the provincial government to calculate its wheat stocks and let the federal government know how much more wheat it needed so that import order, keeping in view the requirement of all the provinces, could be placed in time.

Cheema said Pakistan as an agricultural country must take drastic measures to ensure its food security. At this the chief minister said that due to water shortages we could not bring more land under cultivation, but we could increase our yield by using the latest technologies.

The federal minister agreed to the proposal of the chief minister and said that the federal and provincial agriculture departments sit together and work out proposals for ushering in new cultivation methods to multiply the yield per acre in the country.

Murad Ali Shah, in his concluding remarks, urged the federal minister to offer better prices to the local growers instead of giving better prices to the growers/traders of other countries from where Pakistan wanted to import wheat.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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