The national food security and research ministry has made it clear that there were abundant reserves of wheat in the country – around 6.934 million metric tons at the start of November this year.
In a report, the ministry said the Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supplies Corporation (Passco) had a wheat stock of 1.78 million tons.
As far as the provinces are concerned, the ministry pointed out that Punjab’s had 4.021 million tons of wheat reserves, Sindh 817,000 tons, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 227,000 tons, and Balochistan 89,000 tons.
The ministry added that Passco’s reserves combined with those of the provinces, the wheat stocks were sufficient to meet the country’s requirements till May 2024.
It said after this period, the beginning of the new crop harvest season would see a surge in wheat availability in the local markets, further bolstering the carry-forward stocks.
It continued that the new crop started coming to the markets at the end of March.
“This amount is sufficient to tackle local dietary needs, besides keeping the strategic stocks as well as maintaining supply and demand smooth in local markets to provide the commodity at reasonable prices,” the report read.
As per the report, the private sector has started importing wheat as well after the interim federal government encouraged it. So far, 700,000 tons of wheat has been imported by the private sector into the country.
It is expected that 1.2 million more tons of wheat would be imported as well.
According to the report, the interim federal government has assured all possible support to the private sector to ensure the import of wheat till the arrival of the new crop.
It added that the supply and demand situation had improved because of these measures of the government and there was no shortage of wheat in any part of the country.
Wheat prices, which stood at Rs4,800 per 40kg a month ago, are being reported at Rs4,400 to Rs4,300 per 40kg now.
According to the report, there is a possibility of further reduction in the price of wheat. This will reduce the hardships of the common people and improve their purchasing power.
Separately, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad in collaboration with the Punjab Agriculture Extension Department has launched an eight-day wheat campaign from November 7 to November 14 in which 330,000 students would visit farmers’ fields in six divisions of the province.
The campaign is meant to disseminate experts’ recommendations to increase productivity per acre.
In a related development, agriculture scientists have advised wheat farmers to start cultivation at the start of November to ensure better production.
A spokesman for the agriculture department told the media that farmers in arid areas should only cultivate approved varieties of wheat including Chakwal-50, NARC-2009, PARC-2009, Dharabi-2011, and Pakistan-2013.
(With input from our correspondent in Jaranwala and APP)