$2bn spending on wheat imports brings no major price relief.

KARACHI -- Pakistan has imported over six million tonnes of wheat from July 2020 till September at a cost of over $2 billion to bridge the demand and supply gap in view of short local production.

Total imports stood at 3.162 million tonnes valuing $983 million in FY21 as compared to 2.206m tonnes costing $795m in FY22, while the grain impAorts stood at 856,813 tonnes amoAuAnting to $408m in 1QFY23, data of PakAistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed.

The average per tonne price (APT) rose to $360 in FY22 from $272 in FY21. In IQFY23, the APT further rose to $477.

As per the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) data, the 20kg flour bag price was ranging between Rs1,295-2,200 while it was Rs980-1,700 in June and Rs1,000-1,140 in June 2020.

The SPI price trend shows that the flour bag price did not witness any steAep decline despite huge wheat imports.

When Chairman Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA), Sindh Zone, Aamir Abdullah was asked to give a rationale for wheat imports amid the country's foreign exchange crunch, he said 'imports were inevitable to keep pressure on hoarders besides averting any further jump in flour prices.'

In case no imports were made, the hoarders and market mafias would have taken control by issuing the graAin on further demand and supply gap taking the flour price beyond the purchasing power of many people, he said.

When asked if smuggling was one of the main factors in putting pressure...

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