Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said that Pakistan is reviewing and considering importing wheat from India. On 18th March Standing Committee on Commerce in National Assembly raised serious concerns over importing expensive wheat from Ukraine.
The Minister was replying to a question of a journalist during a press conference along with Provincial Minister of Punjab Abdul Aleem Khan in Islamabad on Friday evening. They were explaining the decisions taken about wheat during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Fakhar Imam said the government has fixed the minimum support price of wheat at Rs. 1,800 per 40 kg for the current season to facilitate farmers. He added that the government is aiming to reduce the price difference of the commodity between local and international markets.
He said about 3 million tons of wheat will be imported in order to increase local stocks to meet the demand during Ramadan. He added the government would also keep 3 million tons as strategic reserves.
Justifying the increment in price, he said that the minimum support price would benefit the local farmers by playing a vital role in the provision of food to a large portion of the population in Pakistan.
The minister said that local wheat output during the current season is estimated to surpass 26 million tons as compared the last year’s output of 25.25 million tons. The government is making efforts to enhance per-acre output and better quality seeds were developed, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Food Minister of Punjab Abdul Aleem Khan said the decision to increase the support price is a historic step by the incumbent government. He added that for the first time in history the support price was revised twice by as much as Rs. 400 per 40 Kg. He said that the increase in the minimum support price of wheat from Rs. 1,400 to Rs. 1,800 is good news for farming communities.
Despite the increase in wheat support price, the prices of flour in the local market will not increase thanks to the government’s Rs. 80 billion subsidies to keep the flour prices unchanged. He said the Punjab government will start wheat procurement in April.
The provincial minister told that under the special directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, wheat flour is available at Rs. 860 per 20 kg bag in all major cities of Punjab. He added that the government of Punjab will also establish Sasta Bazars all across the province during the holy month of Ramadan and provide essential food commodities at subsidized rates to facilitate people.