The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) has threatened to take drastic actions if the mills aren’t permitted to buy the wheat they need on the free market.
Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday, PFMA Central Chairman Asim Raza Ahmad and Punjab Chapter Head Iftikhar Matto stated that in the past, in addition to the government procurement agencies and other buyers, the flour milling industry had purchased two million to 2.2 million tonnes of wheat upon the arrival of the new crop.
They also noted that the flour and wheat markets remained constant until September and October despite purchases being made from market excess, which had no impact on the government’s plans for purchasing wheat.
‘Serious’ situation due to lack of wheat supply, say flour millers.Despite the huge wheat production this year, the reality was just the reverse since Punjab’s food department was placing excessive limits on flour mills’ ability to acquire wheat.They said that the district administration was under pressure to seize control of the wheat that had been acquired by the flour mills in accordance with pre-established norms and approved as normal by the food department, even though doing so may harm the sector and would not be acceptable in any manner.They further asserted that because of government action, the amount of wheat entering the market had significantly decreased and that flour mills were having trouble obtaining the wheat they needed on a daily basis. Flour prices rose as a result of the gradual rise in wheat prices in the province’s markets, which had reached the level of September to October.
It was frightening when wheat prices in Rawalpindi hit Rs 5400 for forty kilogrammes. The wheat milling process and market supplies were disrupted by unannounced limitations the Punjabi food department had placed on the transit of wheat between districts and provinces.
They stated that it was unacceptable to harass flour mills. The shutdown of mills and the government’s forced removal of wheat purchased from their locations by millers were reprehensible, and millers strongly oppose them.
They said that the increase in the support price of wheat from 2200 rupees per 40 kg to 3900 rupees per 40 kg, as well as the decreased availability of wheat on the free market, were two factors contributing to the steady rise in flour costs.
In a meeting held earlier this morning, the Association voiced its concerns on the current state of affairs and urged the Chief Minister to personally intervene to remedy the situation. “We demand that the Punjab government immediately end the unlawful limitations on the movement of wheat between districts and between provinces and grant the flour milling sector unrestricted access to acquire and store wheat as needed. The mills should immediately stop raising the stated wheat they have purchased.
According to Pakistan’s constitution, flour mills should be permitted to operate legally. The government could stabilise the price of flour and wheat if it took effective measures, they said.