Pakistan cracks down on wheat hoarders in response to soaring flour prices
A “grand operation” has been ordered by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan against wheat hoarders and profiteers to relieve a shortage of flour supplies.
Prices of flour and bread shot up last week as the grain disappeared from shops and wholesale markets. The cost of wheat flour has surged from PKR43 ($0.27) per kilogram to PKR75 ($0.48) per kilo in different parts of the country.
“As per the prime minister’s instructions, we have been working closely with provincial administrations to resolve the crisis as quickly as possible,” Javed Humayun, senior joint-secretary at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, told Arab News.
He said the federal government had also started releasing additional wheat stocks to provinces to meet demand. “Provincial governments have also been directed to launch a crackdown against hoarders and profiteers to overcome this artificial crisis,” said the official.
A committee has been set up to take measures to control the commodity’s price. Islamabad also approved the import of 300,000 tons of wheat on Monday, with the first shipment expected to arrive by February 15.
Pakistan exported more than 600,000 metric tons of wheat from late 2018 to June 2019, according to its statistics bureau. Although the government banned exports in July last year after poor crop yields in the last harvest, some 48,000 metric tons were still sent overseas before October 2019.
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