Provinces told to step up wheat purchase

In Local
April 18, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

Federal National Food Security Minister Rana Tanveer has sent a letter to the chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan to speed up the government procurement of wheat keeping in mind the sensitivity of the wheat crop, production, storage, smuggling, and different types of weather in the provinces.

Tanveer, who is also the federal minister for industries and production, has also asked the chief ministers to review their wheat procurement targets and ensure that purchased the crop from farmers on time.

He added that the provincial governments should take appropriate and necessary measures to meet their wheat procurement targets.

The minister stressed the need to purchase wheat from farmers at the rates fixed by the Centre. He added that the federal government was well aware of the challenges faced by growers.

On Friday, the federal government fixed the wheat procurement target at 2.5 million metric tons, which was 69% lower than the one in the current year because of the absence of Punjab from the campaign. It also allowed loans of Rs275 billion for the purchase of the crop.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved wheat procurement targets for the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco), Sindh, and Balochistan. Punjab did not share its financing requirement and wheat procurement plan.

The ECC fixed Sindh’s wheat purchase target at 1 million tons, down 28% from last year, and authorized the provincial government to get a loan of Rs100 billion. Sindh will buy the commodity from farmers at Rs4,000 per 40 kg. It owes commercial banks Rs77 billion on account of commodity operations.

The ECC approved a procurement target of 50,000 metric tons for Balochistan and sanctioned a borrowing limit of Rs 5.7 billion for the provincial government. K-P’s production of 1.4 million tons is expected to remain below the target by 200,000 tons.

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