The government's ignorance of the wheat shortage warnings led to the flour crisis

The government's ignorance of the wheat shortage warnings led to the flour crisis

Posted on Jan 27, 2020

Islamabad: Delay in the estimation of wheat crop volume and delay in making appropriate decisions have been attributed to the recent wheat crisis in the country.

According to informed sources, the crisis started raising head on May last year when the administration was warned of the possibility of a wheat shortage, but the government took unnecessary measures, such as banning wheat exports.

However, the Cabinet's Economic Coordination Committee's decision to ban wheat exports was also decided at the end after receiving several reminders from the Ministry of Food Security.

Conversations from the relevant department officials revealed that reports on crop estimation have often found flaws that have led to crises in the past.

For example, in the year 2008-2007, it was wrongly estimated that there would be a tremendous wheat crop in the country after which a good amount of wheat was exported at a low price.

Similarly in 2014, the crop was misestimated, resulting in chaos in wheat procurement and exports in May and August this year.

Under the current method, crop reporting systems in the provinces inform the federal government of the crop production and estimation data, a Food Security official said, "regardless of whether We have to rely on how credible the system is.

According to the official, the federal government has no other way of monitoring the crop and estimating the production, but the decision of exporting wheat was also made by the provincial governments.

On April 17 last year, it was reported that the country has 218 million 60,000 tonnes of wheat, including last year's leftover wheat, but in May, a contradictory situation was presented which caused trouble.

The response from the Ministry of Defense came up three times in June to send a summary to the Cabinet Economic Coordinating Committee.

According to the Pakistan Institute of Statistics data, 48 thousand 83 metric tons of wheat was exported between July and December despite the ban.

According to the official, we are investigating how the wheat was exported despite the ban but there may have been a mistake in the bureau's report.

It is to be noted that during the last 10 years wheat production in the country has been 21 million to 25 million tons, of which 72 percent of wheat is consumed by Pakistanis daily and every Pakistani uses about 124 kilos of flour a year. Is one of the highest rates.

It is estimated that about 50% of the wheat is consumed only in the villages where it is produced and does not reach the markets, and generally, 25% of the full production is purchased by government agencies at a fixed price.

The remaining 25% of the production is bought by the private sector and more government controls the wheat buying system.

Wheat is sown in Pakistan from October to December and harvested in April and May, but crop yields are taken into account the availability of water and the weather conditions in February and March.


Mian Tajamul

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