Pakistan plans to buy about 200,000 tons of wheat from Russia as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s bid to control inflation by increasing supplies of essential commodities.
Islamabad will soon sign a memorandum of understanding with Moscow for the supply of the grain on a government-to-government basis, Pakistan’s wheat commissioner Imtiaz Ali Gopang told Bloomberg newswire.
Shipments from Russia are likely to arrive by December after the federal cabinet approves the proposal, he said.
The nation last bought the grain from Russia in 2014, according to UN trade data. Pakistan also plans to import 1.5 million tons of wheat through state-run Trading Corp. of Pakistan, while more than a million tons of the grain will be imported by the private sector, Gopang said.
Pakistan’s presence in the global market is set to further boost global wheat prices, which surged 1.3 percent on Wednesday. Futures have surged more than 13 percent so far this year.
The Khan administration is trying to spur growth through monetary easing, and incentives for construction and making efforts to control inflation by facilitating imports of essential items such as wheat and sugar. The nation’s food price inflation surged 12.9 percent from a year earlier in August.
The price of wheat flour will start coming down as we see four ships of wheat imported by Trading Corp. arriving in Pakistan in October, Gopang said.
Pakistan, the world’s eighth-biggest wheat producer, has already imported about 430,000 tons so far this year to build strategic reserves of the grain and plug a 1.5-million-ton shortage, caused in part by damage to crops after heavy rains.
Private importers have booked 1.09 million tons of wheat, which will be shipped in 18 vessels until January.
Meanwhile, The government has identified certified wheat seeds for the first time to make country food secure, a minister said on Wednesday, asking proposals from the provinces for the commodity’s minimum support prices.
Minister for Food Security Fakhar Imam said this during a meeting of wheat review committee related to fixation of minimum support price and other related issues.
The meeting was told 515,000 tons of seeds have been certified this year, while 200,000 tons of seeds have been tested; of which 60,000 tons of seeds have 75 percent germination matter and up to three percent inert matter.
Approximately 150,000 tons of seeds have been tested from Punjab Food Department for emergency. Mechanism for procurement of seed has also been devised and will be shared with provinces.
Wheat is the staple crop and pillar of food security in order to meet 80 percent of the dietary needs with 38 percent share in calorie intake. It accounts for 8.9 percent of the value-addition in agriculture sector and 1.6 percent of the GDP.
The government is used to announce minimum support price and procure wheat through Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation and provincial food departments.
It has been used as an incentive to the vulnerable segments and to fulfill commitments with the international community.
The food minister said the government planned various actions to reduce wheat shortfall in the country. Minimum support price for wheat crop 2020/21 has been increased, while good quality seeds are being supplied to farmers.
Quantity of certified seeds through certification system has been increased. There has been provision of basic agricultural inputs at affordable prices. —Monitoring Desk/By our correspondent
Originally published at The news international