LAHORE-The Punjab province, considered as a mainstay of Pakistan's agriculture, has decided to import two million tonnes of wheat to overcome the shortfall after its failure to achieve even the initial wheat procurement target of three million tonnes this year. The Punjab Food Department, after failing to meet the target due to less production, has proposed to the Federal govt to immediately import two million tonnes of wheat only for the Punjab and the province will pay for the imported wheat. This wheat import will be over and above the wheat import planned by the Federal govt to cater to the needs of all the provinces. According to sources, the CM Punjab Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa will put the demand regarding the import of two million tonnes of wheat before the PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani during the CMs meeting on Wednesday (today). Despite hectic efforts including ban on the inter-district and inter-provincial movement of wheat, the Punjab govt would not be in a position to procure more than 2.5 to 2.8 million tonnes of wheat during this season. Only two million tonnes of wheat has been procured so far in Punjab and the Punjab Food Department procured only 71,000 tonnes of wheat on Tuesday, sources said ,adding, that procurement ratio is declining day by day when the procurement season is at final stage. It is important to mention here that govt had set three million tonnes of wheat procurement target for Punjab initially. Later, the govt revised the procurement target and decided to purchase more than 4.5 million tonnes of wheat including 1.5 million tonnes for NWFP and Balochistan in order to overcome any further food shortage. Sources in the Agri Dept disclosed that the govt has experienced very low production of wheat in this season. The sources revealed that the wheat production this year in Punjab is very less as compared to the past because at least 1.5 million acre wheat cultivation area was less this year and the govt had announced wheat support price very late instead of announcing it during the sowing season.The skyrocketing prices of DAP and other fertilisers and shortage of 28 per cent water also forced the farmers to grow other crops other than wheat. 'We have decided to import two million tonnes of wheat immediately for Punjab only. The Punjab govt will pay for the imported wheat', Provincial Food Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran confirmed, when contacted. He further said that the farmers and some hoarders are not selling their yield to the Punjab Food Department or placing their crops stashed, considering any further increase in the wheat price due to which the department would not be able to achieve the procurement target. 'We don't have any other option but to immediately import two million tonnes of wheat to avert any future food crisis in the province and the country as well', he added. He said that the wheat is being imported to discourage the hoarders and black-marketing in the province. However, he said that the wheat procurement drive would continue on its fixed price till May 30. He said that the inter-provincial and inter-district check posts have been set up permanently, which would be functional on regular basis. He was also of the view that the govt would also launch a massive crackdown against the unauthorised procurement of wheat, hoarding and its illegal movement. It is important to mention here that the Federal govt has already approved import of 2.5 million tonnes of wheat to meet the requirement and the Punjab has placed a separate demand of another two million tonnes of wheat to avoid any future food crisis in the province.