ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman has expressed concern over the flour prices and wheat crisis and said the wheat crisis has been on the rise for the past several months, but the government has shown complete negligence in this regard.
“This crisis has been exacerbated by the looming urea crisis that is haunting the livelihoods of farmers and agricultural workers everywhere,” she said, adding that the price of wheat in the market has skyrocketed to an unprecedented Rs 2,600 per bag, leading to another price bomb under the disastrous governance of Tabahi Sarkar. She said the price of flour has skyrocketed to Rs 1,150 per 15kg bag.
She said despite having high production of urea in 2021, due to the incompetence, mismanagement and severe lack of vigilance, the price of urea has jumped from Rs 1,400 per bag to Rs 2,500 per bag. A massive price hike in such an essential commodity for the agricultural industry, which is the backbone of Pakistan, will be detrimental to Pakistan’s development.
Farmers have to spend hours in long queues to obtain a bag of urea, whereas small farmers can’t afford to buy urea. She said due to this crisis, the experts estimate a massive 20% decrease in wheat production, which will result in another hit for Pakistan’s economy and food security. She said it is reprehensible that the government is trying to once again evade responsibility and blame the Sindh government for the urea crisis.
She said over 300,000 tonnes of urea has been smuggled to Afghanistan; why has the federal government not shown more vigilance over the smuggling of this precious commodity. This is going to have a direct impact on the food supply and security within Pakistan and will disproportionately impact women and children. Recent reports show that 40% of children in Pakistan are underweight and over 50% are affected by stunting. “As many as 41.7% of women of reproductive age are reported as anaemic,” she said.
She said Pakistan’s trade deficit is already at a whopping $24.79 billion for the first 6 months of the financial year. “Urea exports could have brought the trade deficit down instead, the government’s negligence will widen it even further,” she said.
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