PESHAWAR: The wheat production target in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not be achieved due to climate conditions and different diseases of the crops.

The target for wheat production for the year 2019-20 was 27.03 ton, while the yield was measured at 25.4 ton, and the shortfall stood at 1.573 ton. The wheat production in KP was affected the most in KP as compared to rest of the country.

The government had set the target of wheat purchase at 8.25 million tons, while 6.59 ton wheat was purchased which is 79.96 percent of the target. KP also remained behind all other provinces in wheat purchase.

KP had set the target of 450,000 ton wheat purchase, while it purchased just 19,885 ton wheat and achieved 4.42 percent target of its purchase.

Due to shortage of wheat, the Pakistan government decided to import the commodity to avoid food shortage in the country.

After spiralling of wheat prices, the import of the commodity started and few ships have also arrived. Bad weather, COVID-19 lockdown and mismanagement in the commodity’s procurement were some of the main reasons attributed to wheat shortage in KP and rest of the country. Owing to the scarcity, the price of a 10kg bag of flour increased from Rs600 to Rs700 a few months ago.

In response to the price hike, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet gave the go-ahead to the private sector for import of 2.5 million tons of wheat in late June aimed at bridging the demand-supply gap and reducing the prices.

Cereal Association of Pakistan says Pakistan has ordered 600,000 tons of wheat consignments. It said that the government allowed businessmen duty-free import of wheat due to the gap between demand and supply. It said the country was facing a deficit of 1.5 million tons of wheat in the current year.

The Cereal Association said the private sector can afford to import more wheat only if prices in the international market remain stable.

The Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) and Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) have also been directed by the ECC to arrange wheat imports.