Govt likely to reduce flour prices

Amid the looming wheat crisis in the country, the federal and provincial governments are planning to reduce the flour price by Rs200 to Rs300 per 20 kg bag.

Earlier, on Friday, the flour millers had increased the flour prices of 10 kg bag to Rs660 and 20 kg bag to Rs1,310 in retail market. The millers said that after procuring the wheat at the rate of Rs2,300 per 40kgs, it is hard to supply flour at the price less than Rs645 per 10kg bag. The millers have also purchased wheat at a rate higher than the minimum support price of Rs2,200 per 40 kilograms, they said.

Sources in the food department informed Minute Mirror that the recent hike in flour price had pushed the government to provide wheat to millers at subsidized rate. They said that the government wanted to fix the price of 20kg flour bags between Rs1,000 to Rs1,050 while it also had decided to start supplying wheat to millers within a couple of days instead of next month.

According to reports, as the country faced a shortage of over two million tonnes of wheat against the target of 28 million tonnes and to cater the domestic needs the government will have to import more wheat. Sources said that the federal government has also started working on importing at least two million tonnes of wheat to stabilize the country’s wheat reserves. A summary in this regard will be presented in the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee.

On the other hand, the federal minister for national food security has said that the federal government is considering importing wheat and a decision is expected in the next few days. Currently, the government is buying wheat from farmers at Rs2,200. According to the official formula, the price of a 20 kg flour bag is around Rs1,300. It has been decided that the new price of flour will be kept lower than Rs1,100, which was its price in the PTI government’s tenure.

Sources informed that a few days ago, some officials from the food department had suggested to the government that under the previous release season, wheat should be provided to flour mills at the price of Rs1,950 per 40 kgs. If the price of each bag was fixed at Rs1,100, the government would have to bear subsidy of Rs600 per bag but if the price is fixed at Rs1,000, the subsidy would rise to over Rs700.

Samiullah Randhawa is a correspondent covering environment, climate change, food, water and ecology. He is an International Center For Journalists alumnus and a fellow at Kettering Foundation Ohio, USA. He has won two Agahi Awards for reporting on climate change and water crisis. He tweets @sami_randhawa and can be reached at