March 30, 2015 


Pakistan seeks exporters' help on exporting excess wheat



Exporters are being called to come up with a plan to export Pakistan's surplus wheat, the Express Tribune reported.


Those excesses are kept by the Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (Passco) as well as local provinces.


The invitation is being extended by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFSR) to get major exporters' feedback on "exporting surplus wheat stock", according to Seerat Asghar, MNFSR's federal secretary.


The meeting, due to happen this week, will also include the attendance of Punjab's chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, to confer on the issue. The main subject concerns the status of surplus wheat in specific provinces. It will be brought up by provincial secretaries from the Food & Agriculture Department.


After the session, there will also be a meeting with the country's prime minister to finalise the matter, Asghar added.


It is expected to occur during the first week of April.


Back in January this year, 1.2 million tonnes of wheat, out of an overall three million tonnes of surplus volume held by Sindh, Punjab and PASSCO, had been permitted for exportation by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). In addition, subsidies have been provided to Sindh and Punjab, to lower prices around the global market rate.


However, the authorisation fails to stimulate exports to a level of 100,000 tonnes.


The provinces are also racing against time as storage spaces for fresh wheat stocks are shrinking. Deliveries had already arrived in Sindh, while Punjab will receive those in April. Earlier this year, the situation exacerbated with about 700,000 tonnes of wheat brought into Sindh by private importers. 


In response to over-importation, the federal government had imposed a 25% regulatory duty on extraneous imports.


In the meantime, MNFSR anticipates a bumper crop, at 27 million tonnes, this year, higher than the original goal of 26.5 million tonnes for 2015-16.