ISLAMABAD    -  The ministry of commerce (MoC) has notified the ban on exporting wheat and flour after massive reduction in its production in the country.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in July 2019 had decided to impose a ban on export of wheat/wheat flour due to 33 percent reduction in its stock.

Following the ECC decision, the ministry of commerce yesterday has notified the ban on the export of wheat and flour. The government has imposed ban on wheat and flour export heavy rains coupled with hailstorms affected wheat crop in the country.

According to the ministry of national food security and research, the country has adequate stocks of wheat, which would cater to needs of the population.

However, the ministry said that the procured wheat in the current year was 33 percent less than the quantity purchased by the government last year.

According to the data of the ministry of national food security and research, wheat reserves stood at 7.775 million tons as against 11.37 million tons at the same time last year, showing a reduction.

The country has produced 24.12 million tons of wheat against the target of 25.5 million tons from an area of 8.833 million hectares during the Rabi season 2018-19.

Rains coupled with hailstorms have affected wheat crop in the country and reduced the size of the wheat crop by 1.28 million tons.

The worst affected districts of Punjab include Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Khanewal, Vehari, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, and Chakwal.

It is worth mentioning here that flour prices have increased as wheat has become costlier in the open market following reports of crop damage in Punjab due to rains coupled with exports of the commodity.

President Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) Khalid Khokhar said that Rs1300 support price of wheat per 40kg was fixed five years ago but there has been a massive rise in input costs over the past few years which is hurting farmers.

“The price of urea has increased from Rs1200 to Rs2000 per bag, and DAP has increased from Rs2200 to Rs 3500 per bag”, he said, adding that the price of pesticides has also increased manifold.

He said that government needs to take steps to reduce input costs or raise the support price.

Price of fine Atta (flour) increased by 25 percent - from Rs3350 to Rs4200 per 80 kg and price of normal quality wheat flour increased by 19.64 percent from Rs2800 to 3350 per 80 kg during the last few days.

As a result of increase in flour prices, naanbais associations increased prices of naan /roti. The price of naan/roti has been increased by Rs2. Roti is now selling at Rs10 while earlier it was sold at Rs8 and naan price has been raised from Rs10 to Rs12 in the market.