Pakistan plans to import 500,000 tonnes of wheat to meet demand

Javed MirzaWeb Editor

09th Jul, 2021. 06:21 pm
Pakistan plans to import 500,000 tonnes of wheat to meet demand

KARACHI: The state-owned Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has issued an international tender for the supply of 500,000 tonnes of wheat to be delivered in Karachi during August and September, 2021.

According to the TCP, 200,000 tonnes milling wheat of the latest crop is required to be delivered in August and 300,000 tonnes in September.

Pakistan’s growing population is seeing an increased demand for wheat. However, the production of the commodity is not rising at a proportional rate, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture.

Pakistan’s 2020/21 wheat production is expected to decrease to 27.2 million tonnes due to the impact of the untimely rains at harvesting. Over the last few years, Pakistan’s wheat production has not increased at a rate to suffice the local demand, shifting the country from a wheat exporter to a wheat importer.

This is due to climate change, the lack of high-yielding research and minimal increase in support prices, the USDA said in January this year.

In an attempt to circumvent the issue, the Pakistani government announced policy initiatives in October 2020 to support the increased production of wheat. It included raising the minimum support price for the 2021 wheat crop by 23 per cent. The government also plans to support wheat producers in the form of subsidies for fertilisers and a renewed focus on research.

The USDA noted Pakistan is encouraging wheat imports to build reserves, as the government has eliminated the import duty on the commodity.

As per the tender terms and conditions, the interested parties can submit bids for a minimum quantity of 100,000 tonnes and bids less than this quantity will not be accepted. In addition, wheat must be strictly in accordance with the standards and specifications prescribed by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan and import policy order in force.

Last month, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet gave a go-ahead to start the process of importing 3 million tonnes of wheat to build strategic reserves.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research had requested the ECC to enhance the permission for wheat import to 4 million tonnes for strategic reserves to deter hoarding and black marketing.

The Federal Cabinet had already ratified an earlier ECC decision for the import of 3 million tonnes a couple of months ago but the process could not begin.

The meeting was informed that the Ministry of Commerce, through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, was looking at the international market for imports in July-August deliveries based on the lowest price windows, in line with the Chicago forward trading.

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