KPK flour mills fear crisis as wheat stocks drop to 150,000 tonnes
Pakistan Flour Mills Association’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter on Sunday said that the stocks of wheat at the provincial government warehouses have gone down to 150,000 tonnes, which is only enough to fulfill less than two weeks of the province’s wheat consumption.
Pakistan Flour Mills Association KP Chairman Muhammad Iqbal said that KPK’s annual wheat requirements stand around 4.6 million tonnes, while the provincial government currently has a stock of just 150,000 tonnes.
“Despite repeated warnings to the KPK government, authorities have failed to find a solution to the problem,” Iqbal said. He warned that a severe flour crisis may erupt in the next few days if the government fails to take serious steps to resolve the issue.
He added that hundreds of workers belonging to flour mills in the province have lost their jobs while the prices of flour continue on an increasing trajectory.
Currently, due to a shortage of supply of wheat from Punjab and Sindh, the price of a 20kg bag of flour has risen by Rs200 to more than Rs1,300 per pack. At the same time, the cost of 86kg stack of flour has been increased by Rs500 to Rs5,500 per stack in KPK.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had issued instructions to restore the supply of wheat from Punjab to KPK. However, according to Muhammad Iqbal, wheat supply to KPK still has not been fully restored.
He urged that representatives of Pakistan Flour Mills Association should be included in the formulation process of wheat policy for KPK so that cheap flour can be provided to the people of the province.
“Flour mills in KP should be provided wheat according to the needs of KPK’s population,” he demanded.
He alleged that the check posts set up to curb the smuggling of wheat from Punjab to Afghanistan are, in fact, being used to hinder wheat and flour transportation to KPK.
Pakistan Flour Mills Association KP chairman rejected the allegations that wheat and flour are being smuggled from KPK and Balochistan to Afghanistan, adding that cheap wheat and gluten are currently being exported to Afghanistan from Kazakhstan which leaves no room for smuggling of wheat from Pakistan.
“Rumors regarding wheat smuggling from KPK and Balochistan are being spread to deprive the two provinces of their share of wheat and flour,” he said.
What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments below.