KARACHI: A flour mill in Karachi on Friday raised the price of various flour varieties by Rs3 per kilo due to “the increase in wheat prices caused by wheat supply disruptions” from other districts in Sindh to Karachi.
New level flour no. 2.5 has been set at Rs45 per kg while the level of refined flour and super fine flour (maida) has increased to Rs47 per kg.
New level 10kg flour no. 2.5 is now Rs455 compared to Rs425.
Chairman of the Pakistan Flour Manufacturers Association (PFMA), the Sindh zone, Khalid Masood said the level of wheat after being constantly under pressure had swelled to Rs4,000 per 100kg of bags on the open market from Rs3,850 two days ago while it was Rs3. 500 weeks ago.
He said PFMA had often sent letters to the provincial food department and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah about the interception of trailers that brought wheat from various Sindh districts to the metropolis, which caused a shortage of wheat in flour mills as well as on the open market.
Despite repeated attempts, the problem of intercepting trailers and releasing trucks and drivers after receiving ‘bribes’ still continues, they added.
In some cases, wheat is transferred to government warehouses to meet procurement targets.
He placed the responsibility of rising flour prices on the provincial government, which “failed to take serious action against staff and officials for not releasing trailers that brought wheat to Karachi”.
The Sindh government has banned wheat purchases by private flour mills from Badin, Sujawal, Thatta and Mirpurkhas.
However, removal of wheat from other districts is permitted.
According to an April 29 information department press release, the Sindh food department has directed Karachi food deputy director directors, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur, Larkana and all district food controllers to speed up the process of procuring wheat and ensure to reach 1.4 million tons target for the 2020 season.
Grain procurement began on March 26, 2020 and so far 40 percent of the target has been reached which cannot be considered a satisfactory performance at that stage, the government believes.
Khalid Masood said that according to the government procurement level of Rs1,400 per 40kg from farmers, there was a Rs5 cushion per kg in the government and the open market price of wheat.
The price of grain costs Rs35 per kg while on the open market it is sold at Rs40 per kg.
Published in Dawn, May 2, 2020
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