PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) branch of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association said on Sunday that the grain stock in the KP government warehouse had fallen to 150,000 tons, which was only enough to meet less than two weeks of provincial wheat consumption.
KP Chairman of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association Association Muhammad Iqbal when speaking with The advantage said that KP’s annual wheat needs reached around 4.6 million tons, while the provincial government currently has a stock of only 150,000 tons.
“Although it has been repeatedly warned by the KP government, the authorities failed to find a solution to this problem,” Iqbal said. He warned that a serious flour crisis could erupt in the next few days, if the government fails to take serious steps to resolve the issue.
He added that hundreds of workers joined in the flour mills in the province had lost their jobs while the price of flour continued the rising trajectory.
At present, due to a shortage of wheat supply from Punjab and Sindh, the price of 20 kilograms (kg) of flour bags has increased by Rs200, to more than Rs 1,300 per bag while the price of 86kg of flour stacks has increased from Rs500 to Rs5,500 per pile in KP.
Earlier Prime Minister Imran Khan had issued instructions to return the supply of wheat from Punjab to the KP, but, according to Muhammad Iqbal, the supply of wheat to the KP had not yet fully recovered.
He urged that representatives of the Pakistan Flour Mill Association should be included in the process of formulating a wheat policy for KP, so that cheap flour can be given to the provincial community.
“The flour mill in the KP must provide wheat according to the needs of the KP population,” he demanded.
He alleged that the checkpoint set up to curb smuggling of wheat from Punjab to Afghanistan was actually used to inhibit the transportation of wheat and flour to KP.
The Chairperson of the KP Association of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association rejected allegations that wheat and flour were smuggled from KP and Balochistan to Afghanistan, adding that cheap wheat and flour was currently being exported to Afghanistan from Kazakhstan which did not make room for smuggling wheat from Pakistan.
“Rumors of wheat smuggling from the KP and Balochistan are spreading to seize the two provinces from wheat and flour,” he said.
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