The federal government is likely to miss the wheat production target during the current fiscal year. This was disclosed in a meeting held under Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The meeting was briefed in detail regarding this year’s wheat production in the country.
The target for total wheat production this year is 28.89 million metric tons while the expected production is 26.173 million. The gross domestic consumption of wheat is estimated at 30.79 million metric tons.
The reasons for the discrepancy between the target and projected production are a decline in wheat cultivation, scarcity of water, and mismanagement of the previous government’s fertilizer supply. In addition, due to the late announcement of the wheat subsidy price in March, farmers also witnessed a 2% decline in wheat cultivation. Rising oil prices, climate change, and premature heatwaves have also been major hurdles in achieving the target.
The meeting was informed that Punjab has achieved the target of 91.66%, Sindh 49.68%, Balochistan 15.29%, and Pasco 100% of the target for the procurement of wheat. The Prime Minister was also apprised of the steps taken by the present government for public relief.
The measures include subsidies on the supply of wheat to government flow mills, supply of 10 kg flour bags for Rs. 400, supply of cheap flour through utility stores in Balochistan, and supply of 200,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Prime Minister also directed authorities in collaboration with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to identify the provincial consumption and ensure the supply of required wheat.
He also issued instructions to stop the smuggling of wheat and directed to formulate a comprehensive strategy for eradicating wheat theft and corruption in the country and preparing and presenting a strategy for the construction of silos for storing wheat.
“Pakistan is an agricultural country, due to wrong decisions and a lack of timely strategy we had to import wheat instead of meeting the domestic needs,” he said. The Prime Minister directed the Punjab government to increase its procurement target and also directed the Food Security Division to import wheat on time if required to meet the shortfall. He added that he will make Pakistan self-sufficient in wheat production with a better strategy.
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