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LAHORE: The Progressive Flour Millers Group reacting to upward revision in the wheat procurement target of the Punjab food department has again hinted at a fresh upward revision in flour prices alleging that the decision to buy further wheat by the province has hiked the wheat prices in the open market from Rs2300 per maund to Rs2500 per maund.

Group’s representative Muhammad Khaleeque Arshad and Majid Abdullah in a joint statement on Monday claimed that the revised procurement target of the provincial food department seems to be a sparking point with panicking the market and subsequently forcing the flour millers to increase the flour prices.

The Punjab food department has procured more than 4.5 million tons of wheat and is heading to add another half a million to reach an impressive figure of 5 million tons compared to previous years targets. Initially the procurement target was fixed at 3.5 million tons which was achieved in time and very comfortably without disturbing the market.

They claimed the revised additional 1 million buying with added procurement price in freight has forced the market to sky rocket. The millers were buying the wheat from private market around Rs2300/maund and flour rates were calculated accordingly, right after Eid-ul-Fitr.

They said now the price of grain has shot up to over Rs2500/maund and millers have no choice other than to review and increase the flour price at least by Rs100 per 20kg bag.

The district administration is catching any truck on the road carrying wheat in order to help Punjab food department achieve its revised procurement target. They questioned that who will sell wheat to the department whereas the rate difference of buying will be more than Rs200 per maund. They also claimed that revised target would leave the market high and dry and millers will be at the department’s door step before than expected issuance month of September. There is no point buying extra, if releasing early, they suggested.

Progressive Flour Millers Group stressed the need for the issuance of wheat as early as possible to keep the flour rates in control or stop the official procurement at 4.5 million tons to take the market its own correction and stabilize the wheat rate. The declared stock build up by the flour mills will be beneficial for the lean period as imports are next to impossible this year, due to very uncertain international circumstances, they concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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