KARACHI - The Federal Government has instructed all the provinces to gear up their preparations to achieve the procurement target of wheat in upcoming season of crop, official told The Nation. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) in a meeting held on Tuesday directed all the provinces especially to Punjab and Sindh to achieve wheat procurement targets. Sources privy to the meeting disclosed that the Provincial Secretaries of Food Departments of Sindh and Punjab briefed the meeting about arrangements made to procure commodity from the growers. It may be noted here that the federal government has enhanced the procurement price of wheat to Rs950/-40kg for upcoming season from last year's price of Rs625/-40kg. The Provincial Secretary of Food Dept of Sindh informing about the arrangements for procurement of wheat told The Nation that Sindh was establishing procurement centres in the province to start procurement from March. The provincial Food Department will borrow 28.5 billion from banks to procure the wheat to meet the target of 1.2 million tons assigned by the Minfal, Provincial Secretary of Food Department Allah Dito Shar told The Nation from Islamabad. He said that agreement has been finalised with the banks to obtain loan and Finance Ministry and SBP have written letters to the commercial banks for the issuance of loan. The incharge of procurement centres of Food Department will issue receipt to growers for their commodity while growers submitting these receipts with the banks will get amount of wheat which they sold to provincial department, said Food Secretary, who represented Sindh government in Minfal meeting. Furthermore, the provincial government will also impose ban on the inter-provincial movement of wheat to ensure the availability of commodity in the province, he said. It may be noted here that Minfal has given 3.5 million tons of procurement target of wheat to Punjab and 1.2 million tons to Sindh for this season which is almost double than last year's procurement target. Meanwhile, the quality of wheat imported from Russia being supplied to flour mills in Karachi is being questioned by the consumers and millers. It is a reality that huge stocks of Russian wheat imported recently by Federal Government, is not fit for the human consumption but the flour mills are purchasing it from open market as they have no option due to scarcity of indigenous stocks of this staple food, said a flour mill owner. A Karachi-based flour mill owner pointed out that the quality of wheat imported by private sector from Argentina was better than Russian commodity imported by the government. However, Ansar Javed former president of Flour Mills Association Sindh told The Nation that the huge stocks of imported wheat are present in Karachi but they are facing shortage of indigenous commodity. Despite the Russian and Ukrainian wheat had been found sub-standards, the federal government was repeating its inappropriate decision of re-importing commodity from Russia. Presently, plenty of stocks of Russian wheat are present in Karachi but metropolis was facing shortage of indigenous wheat which compelled the flour mills to purchase the Russian commodity from open market, he maintained. Meanwhile, informing about the price mechanism of the commodity in open market, a wheat trader Altaf told The Nation that Argentinean wheat is being sold at Rs2400 to 2450/-100kg in Karachi while Russian wheat was being sold for Rs2200/-100kg on Tuesday. He said that the stocks of indigenous wheat running short as the wheat season has been over and new crop about to arrive in market in the end of upcoming March. He further said very thin stocks of indigenous wheat present in Karachi being sold at Rs2500 to Rs2550/-100kg. He informed that at least 30,000 metric tons of imported wheat present in Karachi was sufficient to fulfil the consumption requirements of city till March. However, the Punjab government has gifted 25000 metric tons wheat while Sindh received almost 50,000 tons stock of wheat which was imported from the USA that has averted impending wheat crisis in the province.