SIALKOT

The Food Department failed to achieve the target set for the sale of wheat in Gujranwala Division during the running fiscal year, The Nation has learnt.

According to senior officials of the food department, the department had purchased 4925,000 bags of wheat (worth Rs16 billion) at the rate of Rs1300 per mound (40 kg) from farmers in Gujranwala Division during harvest season 2015.

The officials informed that the food department could sale only 2320,000 bags of wheat (worth Rs7.5 billion), 2,605,000 bags of wheat (worth Rs8.5 billion) are yet to be sale. They said that the heat has been lying in 175 warehouses owned by the food department in Gujranwala Division’s all the six Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad and Gujranwala districts. According to senior officials of the food departments, rates of wheat in the local open markets remained low against that of the department, due to which local flour millers preferred wheat purchase from the open markets.

This situation failed the department unable to achieve wheat sale target so far during current fiscal year 2015-16.

On the other hand, Gohar Saeed, Vice President of Flour Mills Association Punjab, told the newsmen that the flourmills are buying wheat as per their demand.

He said that there are total of 910 registered flourmills and 100 unregistered flourmills across Punjab. “Out of the total, 40 percent of the mills have already been lying closed due to some unavoidable circumstances across the province,” he informed.

He pointed out that wheat rate in the international markets is Rs600 per mound (40 kg) against the high rate of Rs1,300 per mound in Pakistan, adding that due to this huge difference, Pakistan failed to export its wheat stock. He said that no only Afghanistan is importing wheat from Pakistan that too in little quantity. He said that Indian has already captured wheat market in Afghanistan by exporting best quality wheat, putting Pakistan far behind in this race. He said that inordinate delay in permission for wheat exports to Pakistani exporters is the major cause behind the Indian dominance of Afghanistan’s market.