Sindh wheat procurement target of 1.3m tonnes
Flour rates re-surge after imposition of Section 144
By Tanveer Sher
KARACHI: Flour rates have re-surged by Rs 4 to Rs 5 per kilogramme (kg) in the wholesale and retail markets of Karachi during the last 10 days in the wake of imposition of Section 144 by the Sindh Food Department for realisation of 1.3 million tonnes wheat procurement goal.
Under the Section 144, inter-district wheat movement is banned by the provincial food department and it remains in place until it accomplishes the desired wheat procurement target as the goal for the current year is set at 1.3 million tonnes.
According to Sindh Food Department sources, the campaign has gained momentum following imposition of free wheat movement restriction as so far some 864,000 tonnes of the target have been accomplished.
Earlier the campaign was moving at a snail’s pace but during the last 10 days it has gained considerable momentum, which is likely to continue during the coming days ahead.
However, one notable feature which may hamper realisation of 1.3 million tonnes procurement goal was late initiative by the department, which provided adequate time margin to hoarders and exporters to purchase bulk quantity from farmers and growers at lower rates compared to the official ones set by the previous government which was Rs 3,000 per 100 kgs bag.
Majority of hoarders with the start of wheat harvesting season managed to communicate farmers and growers offering them cash incentive for their yields as a consequence they succeeded in procuring wheat at their desired rates.
The belated action by the Sindh Food Department to procure wheat officially by using administrative measures though helped to push wheat rates up but it also resulted in higher rates of flour in Karachi which relies heavily on supply of the commodity from interior Sindh.
Flour prices had plunged by around Rs 4 to Rs 5 per kg when low priced wheat was arriving easily in Karachi but with the enforcement of restriction by the Sindh Food Department, the rates of flour re-surged in Karachi markets as a consequence consumers were compelled to pay higher rates of the commodity to retailers.
Currently quality chakki flour is available to consumers at retail outlets at Rs 42 to Rs 43 per kg, which is higher as compared to old rates of Rs 38 per kg while ex-mill was sold at Rs 37.50 per kg as compared to previous rates of Rs 34 per kg, indicating sharp increase in their rates.
“The higher prices of flour is likely to persist until the Sindh Food Department announces to lift ban on inter-district wheat movement,” claimed an office bearer of All Pakistan Flour Mills Association, Sindh Chapter replying to a query of the scribe.
The decision is likely to be announced once the department realises 1.3 million tonnes wheat procurement goal. Daily Times