In order to ensure smooth supply and demand of grains and flour across the country, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has issued 288 wheat import permits to private sector importers for ensuring adequate and timely imports.
The permits were issued in compliance of the decision of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, whereas Department of Plant Protection has issued these permits for the import of wheat in two phases, said Food Security Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed Gopang.
While talking to the state media agency he said that for phase -I (out of 500,000 tonnes) Department of Plant Protection has issued import permits to 122 importers of the private sector for the quantity of 499,500 tonnes of wheat.
For phase -II (out of 1,000,000 tonnes) it has issued import permits to 166 importers of the private sector for the quantity of 514,346 tonnes. As wheat harvesting is expected during the 3rd week of August and September 2020, future trading has already started. It has been informed by the importers that the first shipment carrying about 66,000 tonnes of wheat will arrive in August 2020 and the second shipment of 70,000 tonnes is expected to arrive in September 2020, he added.
The trading of two other shipments is also under process which will arrive as per schedule, further cementing the demand and supply of grains in the local market, he remarked.
Highlighting the pricing trend of the commodity in international markets, Food Security Commissioner said that the price of Black Sea Wheat was estimated at $235 per tonne including freight charges of $30 per tonne.
Therefore, the import parity of Black Sea wheat was estimated at Rs. 1,750 per 40 Kg at Karachi by abolishing all duties and taxes. He said that cost and freight charges for the import of wheat were calculated with the dollar exchange rate of Rs. 167.38 as on July 16, 2020, and the International Grains Council price report.
Local wheat stocks
Giving the details of local wheat stocks, Dr. Imtiaz said that about 26.059 million tonnes of wheat is available for local consummation, adding that this year’s wheat output is estimated at 25.457 million tonnes with additional stocks of 0.602 million tonnes.
Punjab has started releasing its wheat stock and so far it has released 148,908 tonnes of wheat. Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken about 55,218 tonnes of wheat from PASSCO’s stock by July 19, 2020, since their signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Service Corporation (PASSCO).
He informed that the government is also taking measures to check hoarding and profiteering of wheat in the local markets across the country.
The federal secretary also directed the department concerns to make sure that there should be no complaining of wheat and flour shortage from any part of the country. He said that all the provinces were cooperating with each other to ensure a smooth supply of the commodity in the country.