ISLAMaBAD - Federal Minister for National Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan on Friday said that country would have surplus wheat stock this year, as wheat crop will be over 25 million tons.

He said this while talking to Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar. Federal Minister for National Food Security briefed the Finance Minister on the crops situation and deliberations of the (Federal Agriculture Council (FAC) meeting held today under the auspices of the Ministry of National Food Security.

He informed the Minister that after the gap of four years, the meeting was held with participation by representatives from all the four provinces, GB and AJK. He informed the Minister that coming wheat crop is expected to be over the national target. He said that all the four provinces have confirmed that this year, wheat crop will be over 25 million tons. He said that due to good crop, the country is expected to have surplus wheat this year. On the potato crop, he mentioned that the total production is expected to be over 2.7 million tons. He said that the total national consumption of potato is 1.7 million tons and the country will have one million tons of surplus potato this year. He added that due to recent rains spell there is enough water for the Kharif Season.

The Finance Minister on the occasion said that the Ministry of National Food Security must ensure that as the supply is more than the demand, the prices of potato in the national market are not increased. He said that the Ministry should have proactive role, in coordination with the provinces, to keep the prices stable and the middle man is not able to manipulate the prices. He further said that the adjustment in POL prices should be passed through to the consumers as the transportation cost will be less. He further directed the Ministry of Food Security to ensure that the sugar cane growers are paid by the sugar mills. The Minister also emphasised that National Agriculture Policy must be formulated at the earliest for optimum use of natural resources i.e. land and water for making the country self-sufficient in food.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Chairman Ansar Pervez on Friday briefed the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on financial aspects of the two nuclear power plants (Kanupp-2&3) with a combined capacity of 2,000MW to tackle the energy crisis.

Lt. Gen. Zubair Mehmood Hayat, DG-SPD (Strategic Planning Division) and Ansar Pervez, Chairman-PAEC called on the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at Finance Ministry.

The Finance Minister assured the Ministry’s full support for nuclear power generation projects. He said that nuclear plants will provide electricity at cheaper rates compared to power produced from thermal sources. At present, the country is experiencing a widening gap between power supply and demand, leading to extensive outages that disrupt life and business and shaves three percentage points off economic growth annually, he added. Dr Waqar Masood, Finance Secretary, Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to the Finance Ministry and Shahid Mehmood, SA to FM were also present in the meeting.