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Wheat flour crisis


Wheat flour crisis


The people of Pakistan are facing a wheat flour crisis. Not only the prices of wheat flour have been increased but there is also shortage of this commodity. The price of one kilogram of wheat flour reached to the highest level of Rs 70. That is an increase of nearly Rs 20 per Kg in last few months. As the result- the price of Roti has gone up to Rs 10 and Nan Rs 20 in some areas of the country. The long queues can be seen at the government flour selling points to get the flour at official rate which is lower than the market rate.

People of Pakistan are suffering due to the sudden sharp increase in the prices of flour. It has become even more difficult for the poor families to feed themselves.  Like on many other issues- both the government and opposition are accusing each other for this crisis. The government is blaming the past government for the crisis which emerged purely in its own rule of 16 months. The government is also blaming the hoarders-shortage and black marketing as main reasons of this this crisis. Not everyone is convinced.

The opposition is blaming the PTI government for this crisis.  Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has demanded that the PTI inform the nation about the “real reasons” behind the crisis. Shahbaz Sharif raised the question that if there were any problems in the supply, why it was not addressed in time. 

Alluding to some of the “real reasons,” PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto said that the federal government is responsible for the crisis as it sent 40,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan.

The situation in KPK- Sindh and Baluchistan is not good as they are facing shortage of flour. The hoarding of wheat is one of the reasons but not the only reason of this crisis.   Smuggling of wheat flour from Sindh and KPK seems to be the main reason of this flour crisis. The flour from Sindh is being smuggled to Afghanistan through Baluchistan. It is believed through market sources that about 100 to 150 trucks of flour are smuggled from Karachi to Afghanistan via Balochistan every day. Flour mills say they are helpless.

While they display the price of 10kg flour bag at Rs 430 (Rs43/kilo), they are not selling it at that price. In Karachi’s Jodia Bazaar, the wholesale rate for a 50kg bag is being sold at Rs2,900 to Rs3,000 (Rs60/kilo).  Traders in the market say that enough wheat stock is hidden in the warehouses in Sindh but flour mills increased the prices on the pretext of wheat shortage. Someone is minting millions.

It seems that apart from hoarding- profiteering and smuggling- the government inaction and poor planning are the reasons that created this flour crisis. It was PTI government which failed to oversaw and monitor the procurement of wheat during last wheat crop season. 

The government should not involve in a blame game and instead take immediate measures and steps to resolve this crisis. The government should bring down the prices of the flour to provide much needed relief to people. First bring down the prices and then hold inquiry to determine the real reasons of this crisis. Blaming the opposition will not help. 

                                                                 The Editor  

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