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Pakistan Receives Russian Wheat Amid National Shortages

© AFP 2023 ARIF ALIA farmer harvests wheat crop in a field on the outskirts of Lahore on April 14, 2022.
A farmer harvests wheat crop in a field on the outskirts of Lahore on April 14, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.01.2023
High flour prices have been a major factor fuelling domestic inflation in Pakistan, whose agricultural output has been hit by floods last year.
Pakistan has received a shipment of Russian wheat amid a countrywide flour crisis caused by flood damage and the ongoing forex shortage.
A statement by Pakistan’s Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that the two ships carrying around 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia docked at Karachi’s Port Qasim on Monday.
Another consignment comprising 400,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia is expected to reach the port of Gwadar before the end of March, it said.
The country’s Economic Coordination Committee approved the import of wheat from Russia’s state-backed organization Prodintorg in a government-to-government deal in November. Pakistan had last imported wheat from Russia in July 2020 in a similar deal.
In September, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). An official statement underscored that food security was one of the key areas of discussion between the two leaders.

Pakistan’s Wheat Shortages

Islamabad’s decision to import wheat from Russia was taken in the wake of devastating floods in the country earlier last year.
While Pakistan had set a target of producing over 27 million tonnes of wheat at the start of last year, independent estimates suggest that floods have affected the output by eight million tonnes.
In recent weeks, the price of flour across major Pakistani provinces has spiked, pushing up domestic inflation, which topped 23 percent last year.
People visit a market to shop for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 29, 2022.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.01.2023
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Pakistan’s Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema, however, rejected suggestions of shortages of wheat in the country last week.
He said during a press conference that the “strategic reserves” of wheat in the nation remained at “satisfactory levels”.
For his part, Cheema put the onus of high flour prices in the country on provincial governments. He noted that under Pakistani law, the responsibility to control prices of essential food products rested with the provinces rather than the federal government.