Regional, international markets: PFMA for export of surplus wheat, flour

Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) on Wednesday called for better export policy for flour and wheat so that the big surplus stock can be exported in regional and international markets. The export rebate be increased to dollars 185 per ton of wheat or flour exported from $120. Due to low price in international market, wheat or flour's export by sea was not affordable. The rebate rate for the exports via land routes may be revised upward, said Central Chairman PFMA.

PFMA's Chairman Central Committee Badar-ud-Din Kakar, along with other representatives of the association, was speaking at a press conference here. The price of wheat in international market was Rs 150 per 40 kilograms, whereas in Pakistan the price was fixed at Rs 340. The subsidy being given to the growers was Rs 120, which was likely to increase to Rs 143 per 40 kg of wheat. The federal and concerned provincial government was to bear this burden equally. Thus, Pakistan could not compete in flour and wheat export.

Kakar urged that instead of giving subsidy to the growers, the government should reduce the cost of inputs and utilities to make the wheat and the flour price computable. The PDMA's Central Chairman called upon the government to revisit its policy on export of wheat and flour. The flour mills owners be given ninety days instead of sixty days for export of wheat or flour after signing an agreement with the government for the same. Similarly, he said, the period of submitting rebate claims with State Bank of Pakistan be enhanced to 120 days against 90 days.

Badar-ud-Din Kakar, former chairman of PFMA Central Committee Muhammad Naeem Butt and former chairman PFMA Punjab Chaudhary Muhammad Iftikhar Ahmed Minto said, new crop was due within couple of weeks. The production was expected up to 250 million tones. "We are given old what stock 2014 and 2015 due to back-log of wheat stock," the PFMA leaders claimed.

They also demanded for a Wheat Export Regulatory Authority. They mentioned that Kazakhstan, which was a major wheat exporter country with its export up to 4 million tones, had changed its agriculture policy. She was cutting cultivation of wheat by 5 percent every year and it was being replaced with oil seed crops. This, they said, would provide a good opportunity to Pakistan to capture Afghanistan's wheat and flour market.