Over 830,619 metric tons of wheat procured: Food Security Minister

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: About 830,619 metric tons of wheat has procured so far under the grains procurement campaign for the year 2019-20 as against the set targets of 8.25 million tons in order to fulfill the domestic requirements as well as for exporting. The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet had approved wheat procurement targets of the public sector at the level of 8.25 million tons for the period under review for tackling the local needs as well as keeping the strategic reserves, said Food Security Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Dr Imtiaz Ali Gopang.
He said that about 10.07 % of the procurement targets had achieved so far whereas the campaign was in full swing all across the wheat growing areas of the country. The Punjab Province has so far procured about 345,228 metric tons of wheat as against the set targets of 4.500 million tons, he said adding that 7.67% of the set target was achieved. Meanwhile, Sindh Province had completed 22.38% of its set targets as it has procured about 313,323 tons of wheat, he added.
However, he said that procurement campaign was not started yet in Balochistan Province, whereas the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had procured about 0.27 metric tons of wheat. The Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Service Corporation (PASSCO had also procured about 170,831 metric tons of wheat and achieved about 9.48% of its set task, he added. The Food Security Commissioner further informed that sufficient wheat stocks of about 0.761 million tons were available in the country to tackle with the domestic consumption whereas new crop has also started to arrive in the local markets.
According to data of wheat stocks provided by the provincial food ministries and allied departments to Ministry of National Food Security and Research by the end of last week, wheat reserves in the country was stood at 0.761 million tons. About 0.290 million tons of wheat was available in Punjab and 0.255 million tons in Sindh for fulfilling the local needs, he added.
He said that Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa has about 0.065 million tons of wheat, whereas Balochistan has 0.0070 million tons of wheat in their stocks. Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Service Corporation (PASSCO) has 0.174 million tons of grains for local consummation, he added. Dr Imtiaz further informed that wheat consumption at the national level was estimated at the 26.91 million tons. Therefore, current wheat stock of the public sector at the level of 0.761 million tons was sufficient to cater the national consumption for 10 days. Additionally, the public sector has so far procured 830,619 metric tons of wheat (10.07% of the target) from fresh harvest till date . The quantity will be accounted for after the end of Food Year as on 1st May, 2020, he remarked. Besides it, he said that 1,162 wheat purchase centers had established across country to facilitate the growers for selling their products on official fixed rates. Giving the procurement targets for current year, he told that wheat procurement target of PASSCO had set at 1.8 million tonnes, Punjab 4.5 million tons, Sindh 1.4 million tons, Balochistan 1 million tons and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 0.45 million
The minimum support price (MSP) was approved at Rs 1400 per 40 kg in order to provide better rates of return.
He said that Federal Minister had directed to devise daily or weekly monitoring procedure to evaluate procurement targets.
The Commissioner further informed that there was sufficient supply of wheat and flour in the country and government was also going to procure extra wheat as compared to last year during this season.
He further stated that there was no need to panic as satisfactory reports have been given by respected food ministers and representatives of food departments regarding supply of flour and wheat in all provinces.