ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has asked the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to import additional 2.5 million tons of wheat, including the 1.5 million tons already approved by the ECC, in addition to procurements from the local market in order to build strategic reserves for meeting country’s future requirements. The Prime Minister said this while chairing a meeting reviewing the food situation in the country at the Prime Minister’s House this morning. He said that food shortage is a global phenomenon whose effects are being felt in every country including Pakistan and the government is taking timely measures for meeting these challenges.
The Prime Minister said that ensuring food security particularly of a staple item like wheat is the topmost priority of the government and the leadership of the coalition partners is fully committed in this regard. He said the provincial governments and law enforcement agencies have been asked to take effective measures for controlling smuggling and hoarding of wheat besides taking strict action against profiteers.
Secretary MINFAL briefed the meeting about the wheat procurement situation in the country. He said that targets of procurement will be ensured in all the four provinces, besides active buying by the PASCO itself. The meeting also reviewed the rice stocks and supply situation in the country and expressed satisfaction over situation of rice in the country. The Prime Minister was told that the country has surplus reserves of Irri, the most widely consumed variety in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister directed that agreement with Rice Export Association Pakistan (REAP) regarding availability of 200,000 tons of rice to Utility Stores Corporation and maintenance of additional reserves of 300,000 tons should be ensured and implemented in letter and spirit. This, he said, would ensure adequate supply of rice to the consumers at reasonable price. He also directed to review the situation to ensure adequate supply of pulses such as grams, masoor, mung and mash in the market.
The stock and supply situation of pulses also came under deliberation during the meeting. The Prime Minister said that availability of essential food items at reasonable rates to the people should be ensured. Earlier in a separate meeting Senior Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ch. Nisar Ali Khan gave the Prime Minister a general overview of the food situation in the country. Federal Minister for Finance, Mr. Ishaq Dar, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary Commerce, Secretary Cabinet, Secretary Finance, Secretary Food & Agriculture also attended the meeting.-SANA