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Thursday, February 15, 2024

CM Parvez Elahi slams federal govt. over wheat shortage

Parvez Elahi said Punjab is facing a severe wheat shortage of 1 million tonnes. However, the federal government has not provided any wheat despite multiple requests. 

The recent bout of floods has left Pakistan with a host of challenges; 33 million people displaced, diseases, economic loss, structural damage, and food shortages as many crops were destroyed by the floods.

Wheat is currently short in the market. In this regard, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parvez Elahi, has lashed out at the incumbent government for the ill-provision of wheat in Punjab – which is the most populous province of the country.

In a session, Parvez Elahi said Punjab is facing a severe wheat shortage of 1 million tonnes. However, the federal government has not provided any wheat despite multiple requests.

Read more: Wheat prices soar as Sindh govt. fails to release public stock

“The federal government is behaving like a stepmother toward the Punjab government,” Parvez Elahi said in apparent criticism of the center. He also said that the Punjab government will write an official letter protesting the situation and also form a cabinet standing committee for wheat.

Moreover, in a bid to facilitate farmers in sowing the next wheat crop, CM Punjab approved fixing the wheat price at Rs3000 per mound for the rest of the fiscal year 2022-23.

Sharp rise in wheat prices

Pakistan was already facing a wheat shortage of approximately 3 million metric tons this year and after the recent flood, the market is expecting a further shortfall in the coming months due to delays in wheat sowing.

A decline in wheat output and destruction of available stocks due to floods has put pressure on the supply of the staple golden grain sending prices sky high.

Wheat grain prices have sharply risen by Rs 1,000 per 100-kg bag during the last week due to an expected shortage of the commodity. Prices of wheat grain surged to Rs 9,100 per 100-kg bag in the domestic market.

A similar situation persists in Sindh. The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA), a farmers’ lobbying group, has urged the provincial government to clear the flooded lands before the wheat sowing season starts in Sindh from October 15. If the lands are not cleared, then it will be difficult for Sindh – which produces around 4.3 million tonnes of wheat every year – to harvest even around one million.

Read more: Wheat prices hit record high after Indian export ban