Sindh CM, Federal minister discuss wheat requirements to ensure food security

KARACHI, May 09 (APP): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in their meeting at CM House discussed available wheat stock and further requirements so that necessary import could be made in time. 

The meeting was attended by Sindh Food Minister Mukesh Chawla, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Provincial Secretary Food Raja Khurram Shahzad, Wheat Commissioner Ministry of Food Security Imtiaz Gopang, Special Secretary to CM Rahim Shaikh and others, said a statement issued from the CM House here on Monday.

The chief minister thanked Tariq Bashir Cheema for his timely intervention to assess wheat stocks and production of new crops so that necessary measures could be taken to meet the shortage, if any. 

Cheema shared that the federal government has decided to assess the wheat stocks in the province so that shortage could be assessed for importing wheat well in time. 

Syed Murad Ali Shah stated that the production target of the province was 3.8 MMT against a requirement of 4.7 MMTs, including for seed adding that the shortfall of 0.9 MMT was met by purchasing wheat from Punjab or from Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (PASSCO). “Our shortfall is usually met by the private sector,” the CM told. 

Shah said that the provincial government has set a procurement target of 1.4 MMT against a support price of Rs 5,500 per 100 kg. “We are purchasing wheat from the growers so that a comparatively better price benefit can pass to them,” he said. 

Mukesh Chawla informed that there were higher prices of wheat in the open market, as on May 5 open market price has been recorded at Rs 6,000 in Karachi, Rs 5,700 Hyderabad, 5850 Mirpurkhas, Rs 5,800 Shaheed Benazirabad and Rs 5,700 Larkano. 

Secretary Food Raja Khurram said that the provincial government was planning to purchase 250,000 MT from PASSCO and may also purchase wheat from Punjab. 

The federal minister stressed the provincial government to calculate its wheat stocks and apprise the federal government regarding the quantity of wheat it needed so that import order, keeping in view the requirement of all the provinces, could be placed timely.   

Tariq Bashir emphasised that Pakistan as an agricultural country must take drastic measures to ensure its food security. 

At this the chief minister responded that due to water shortages we could not bring more land under cultivation, but we could increase our yield by using the latest technologies.

Sindh CM, in his concluding remarks, urged the federal minister to offer better prices to the local growers instead of giving better prices to the growers/traders of other countries from where Pakistan wanted to import wheat.