Wheat export decision after final crop figures

Post Source: Dawn – Reporter – 05 Mar, 2010 

 

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Nazar Muhammad Gondal said here on Thursday that the government would decide on exporting the surplus wheat only after the final assessment report of the current crop that is scheduled to be prepared by April end. The present government would not repeat the faulty and rash decisions of the previous government that caused heavy losses to the country, he said while talking to a delegation of All Pakistan Flour Mills Association (APFMA).

“The recent spell of rains has positively impacted the wheat crop and we hope that the production will see an increase of about 1 million tons,” Gondal said, adding that export of the commodity could not be allowed at the moment as it would be quite risky.

The APFMA had urged the government to allow export of 0.2 million tons of wheat products and give subsidy of $50 per ton to facilitate the export of wheat to Afghanistan.

The association claimed that the requested subsidy is lesser that what the government has to pay to banks in the form of mark-up, in case the government retains the commodity in storages.

The flour millers also requested the government to waive GST and turnover tax on the flour mills so that the commodity is made cheaper.

Iqbal Daud later told Dawn that the association had asked the government to maintain equal rates of wheat supply for Balochistan and NWFP. The rate for NWFP is still Rs300 lower than the one applied for Balochistan.

Mr Gondal assured the delegation that the government will consider its proposals in future policies.

About the waiver of GST and turnover tax, the minister said that the issue will be taken up with concerned quarters and in the next meeting of the federal cabinet.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its new report on ‘Crop Prospects and Food Situation’ pointed out that wheat price in Pakistan has been rising in recent months in spite of relatively good production gathered in early 2009, possibly reflecting concerns over the uncertainty of the anticipated 2010 Rabi harvest.

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