Sunday, March 27, 2011

Government claims no food security problem in Pakistan

The Daily Times (Pakistan): The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MINFA) on Thursday claimed that Pakistan harvested two bumper wheat crops in 2009 and 2010 and has exported one million tonnes of wheat with plans to export up to three million tonnes.

This is despite the fact that the international market is going through an unstable time. Pakistan has also exported rice to the tune of 1.678 million tonnes despite flood damage to the crop. The cereal supplies in the country are plenty and currently, the prices are comparable with the international market. The food departments are releasing wheat to flour mills at Rs 1,000 per 40 kilogrammes (kgs). The government’s move against the unprecedented price hike of onion three months ago has kept the market stable at Rs 40 per kg. The overall price hike is not Pakistan specific. It is being experienced across the globe. The government is expecting arrival of another mega wheat harvest in the next two months.

World Food Programme Head Wolfgang Herbinger denied the comment on wheat price being attributed to him, in a letter received from Rome. It appears that his conversation has been read out of context. The government is also endeavouring to help the needy through Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) by providing monthly financial assistance to over four million households through cash transfers. It is not fair to imply the flood-related insecurity issues to the whole country. Even in flood-affected areas wheat supplies remained satisfactory because the country was having abundance of wheat stocks. Therefore, MINFA categorically denied the views given in the news item and made it clear that food security situation is stable in the country. …

Bagrote Valley Wheat Harvest, shot by Zensky, Wikimedia Commons, nder the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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