Minister blames Wheat supply for inflated Flour in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema on Wednesday said that a strategy was being devised for stabilizing flour prices to ensure provision of flour at affordable rates to the residents of Federal Capital.
Addressing a press conference, the minister said the reason for flour price hike in the markets of Islamabad was the inadequate supply of wheat from Punjab. “Per day flour consumption of Islamabad is 38,000 bags containing 20 kg flour. The Punjab government is only providing 21,700 bags per day, resulting in a shortfall of about 1,700 bags per day”, Cheema added.
“The shortfall is being fulfilled by purchasing the commodity form open market, due to which we faced price fluctuation”, he said adding “the government has also established about 38 sale points to provide wheat flour to the lower income groups.” He said that smooth supply of wheat and flour at affordable price was the responsibility of provincial governments, adding that the needs of federal capital were also fulfilled by the supply of wheat from Punjab. The government was also inspecting the grinding capacity of flour mills in order to operate them on their optimal capacity to produce sufficient quantity of flour to meet local needs, he added. Tariq made it clear that there was no shortage of wheat in the country, and sufficient reserves were available to meet domestic consumption. “Strategic reserves are also being maintained to cope with any emergency situation.” He said that to fulfill the requirements of Islamabad, a proposal was submitted for approval to allocate wheat quota to the federal capital in Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Corporation (PASSCO) and it was expected to get approved within the next few days. –Agencies