The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) – the representative trade body of the flour milling industry – has demanded that the government maintain a uniform rate of wheat across Pakistan.

“There should be a uniform rate of wheat across the country. At present, the Sindh government has set the price of 40ky wheat at Rs2,000 while the price of equivalent quantity of wheat in Punjab is Rs1,800,” said PFMA Deputy Chairman Kashif Bashir on Wednesday while addressing a press conference.

He urged the government to import wheat “which is also edible” as according to him the wheat imported last year was not fit to be ground into flour. Bashir said the wheat grown in the country is also ready for harvesting now and the wheat from Sindh will be in the markets by the next month.

The PFMA office-bearer said right now there is a shortage of wheat in Rawalpindi division. “To meet this need we will have to procure wheat from Punjab and Sindh.” He said the government has placed an embargo on flour mills to buy wheat – something which has never happened in the past.

“There was an embargo on the mills last year and the mills had to buy expensive wheat. Last year, the government had also distributed wheat unequally and the areas facing a shortage did not get enough quantities of wheat. There is a need to ensure equal distribution of the commodity,” he added.

The PFMA deputy chairman said a wheat policy should be drafted in consultation with the flour mills. He demanded that the government increase the quota of the areas facing wheat shortage; lift embargo on purchase of wheat and ensure equal distribution of wheat.

Bashir said right now the flour mills are getting 40kg of wheat at Rs1,475. He claimed that the flour being sold at the Utility Stories is substandard.