By Shakeel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Monday reaffirmed the commitment for ensuring smooth wheat and flour supply on controlled prices across the country.
Addressing a press conference flanked by Minister for information and Broadcasting Senator Sibli Faraz, he said that federal government in collaboration with the provincial governments were making all-out efforts to ensure uninterrupted supply of wheat and flour to common man in the country on affordable prices. Wheat was the main component of our staple food, he said adding that Pakistan was the 8th largest wheat producer of the world and provision of wheat, flour on proper prices would be ensured. The minister also called upon the Provincial Government of Sindh to release wheat from its stocks in order to make the prices of the commodity sustainable in local markets.
The public sector of Sindh had procured about 1.25 million tons of wheat, he said adding that he had also wrote letters to Sindh Governmen to finalise its wheat release policy in order to bring the stability in price of the commodity in local markets. He said that cartilization was the main reason of price hike including hoarding of the commodity, adding that the provincial governments must take action against such cartels.
He said that Ministry of National Food Security and Research was taking all necessary measures for ensuring sustainable supply of the wheat on controlled rates.
In order to overcome the supply and demand gap, he said that the government had allowed wheat import and hoarding of the commodity for creating artificial shortage would never be tolerated. Fakhar Imam said that Punjab Government had started wheat release and all provinces were also collaborating with each other for ensuring smooth supply of wheat, adding that federal government was also strengthening their efforts to bring the stability .
He further informed that federal government was also facilitating private sector imports to ensure timely import of the commodity. Replaying to a question, he said that smuggling and hoarding were two methods for creating artificial shortage of any commodity, adding that identifying the cartilization was the responsibility of provinces. The minister said that despite the abandant crop production, shortage of wheat was due to hoarding and cartilization.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Omer Hameed said that the shipments carrying imported wheat would be arrived in local markets by August 25.