Call for another look at wheat economy
KARACHI: The president of the Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Mian Zahid Hussain, has emphasized the need for the government to carefully analyze the whole wheat economy and decisions should be made in the best interests of masses.
He said government should revisit all the policies linked to wheat economy as the issue of surplus wheat is inflicting losses of billions of rupees on the national exchequer.
Local wheat costs twice as much as that available in the international market, which is not only against the interests of masses but it is impossible to export the surpluses, resulting in colossal losses, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that despite excess production of the staple the issue of food insecurity in the country proves that some policies are jumbled.
He said that an attractive support price resulted in sowing of wheat on 9.1 million hectares and this year 26.1 million metric tonnes would be produces, out of which 1.6 million metric tonnes would be surplus.
This surplus will boost the wheat stock to 6.6 metric million tonnes worth Rs250 billion with storage and other costs jumping to Rs60 billion annually, he added.
According to estimates, the wheat price will remain depressed for the next eight years therefore there will be no way to export the surplus.
Government efforts to export wheat with the help of subsidy and disposing it through government-to-government contracts has not remained very successful.
Around two million tonnes of wheat has been exported to Afghanistan during the last three years but it find its way back into the Pakistani market after the exporters get the subsidy, he informed.
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