LAHORE - Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation owes a total amount of Rs 58 billion, including the markup of Rs2.2 billion, to different banks and DFIs against the procurement made during last several years. However, the Corporation has wheat and rice quantity equal to that amount at its godowns. Pasco MD Sohail Shafqat said that the Corporation had already sold out rice procured during 2009-10 while some 40,000 tons of rice from the crop 2008-09 was still in its stores, which would also be disposed off soon. He said that the Corporation had to face Rs 10,000 on average loss against each tons of rice sold by it due to gap between the procurement price and the selling price. He said that Gilgit-Baltistan had to pay an amount of Rs 7.5 billion which was pending for a long time. He said that PASSCO is all set to launch 'wheat procurement drive 2011 from fourth week of the current month. The Corporation has been allocated a target of procurement of 1.3 million tons of wheat out of the over all national wheat procurement target of 6.5 million tons set by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Minfa). While briefing the members of the Agriculture Journalists Association, Lahore here on Thursday the MD said that the Corporation has divided its allocated target as 1.26 million tons from Punjab and 40,000 million tons procurement from Sindh. He said that procurement in Balochistan will be made subject to demand and provision of funds on the part of the respective provincial food department. The corporation has already established its Zonal office at Dera Allah Yar having 14 purchase centers in Nasirabad, Jafarabad and Jhal Magzi districts. Hafizabad, Pindi Bhattian, Gojra, Okara (including Renala), Pakpattan, Burewala, Mailsi, Mian Channu, Lodhran, Kehror Pacca, Bahawalnagar, Minchanabad, Alipur (including Jatoi), Khanpur and Layyah are 15 tehsils where the Corporation would be at work for procurement while three Tehsils of Sindh include Sobo Dero, Kandiaro and Sakrand. The Corporation has established 176 wheat procurement centers in Punjab, 11 wheat procurement centers in Sindh and 14 in Balochistan. The Corporation would be buying at the government announced support price of Rs 950 per maund. He said that the Corporation needed Rs 34 billion for procuring the target quantity of wheat and negotiation with consortium of banks had been finalized in this regard. He said that in addition to procurement of current crop, PASSCO expects to carry over approximately 1 million tons thus would be having a stock of 2.3 million tons at the end of procurement 2011. He said that as per policy, the Corporation has to keep 0.5 million tons of strategic reserve and another 40,000 tons for SAARC Food Bank. He said Bardana has been made available at all the wheat procurement centers for distribution to the wheat growers with instructions to field staff that distribution of bags amongst the growers must be fair and equitable. He said that capital and organizational restructuring was also being carried out. He said that project of construction of storage capacity for 4,40,000 tons of commodity had been approved by the Islamic Development Bank and hopefully construction would start in the second half of the current year. While, the Corporation would be launching construction of two additional storages from its own funds in Layyah and Bhakkar. He also eulogised the role of AJA in creating awareness among masses about the issues confronting agriculture and food sectors.