KARACHI: Exports of wheat have come to a standstill due to a crash in its world prices. Exporters have stopped taking fresh export orders as wheat prices have flung to a low ebb ever since the last two ship loads of wheat left Pakistan.
Pakistan has failed to meet wheat export target which were fixed at two million tons. It managed to export only 1.8 million tons. Pakistan started wheat exports early this year and fetched around $345 per ton which ultimately ended up at $305 per ton.
“Wheat prices in the domestic market till early June remained little on higher side but with the entry of Russia in the world market, a declining trend was witnessed” stated Johar Ali Kandhari, former chairman, Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA).
“Since wheat demand from exporters dwindled, prices in the domestic market also started normalising and are presently being quoted at Rs25.50 per kg against Rs27 per kg in early June, 2011” he said.
Official sources said Pakistan has also harvested a bumper wheat crop at 23.5 million tons this year and after adding up around 3.5 million tons of carry-over stocks total available wheat in the country comes to around 26.5 million tons.
Presently around two million tons of wheat from last year`s crop is held by the Punjab government, one million tons by Pakistan Agriculture Supplies and Storage Corporation (Passco) and nearly 0.1 million tons by Sindh.
Similarly, procurement from the current season wheat crop is at around 3.3 million tons by the Punjab, two million tons by Passco and 1.7 million tons by Sindh.
“Normally one million tons of wheat is used by maker of poultry feed, but this season Makkai crop has also been bumper.” Johar Ali Kandhari said
“Therefore, wheat held by them is finding its way into the wheat market. The feed makers” he said, are preferring Makkai over wheat because the later is lower in price.
He further said that Pakistani wheat exporters have managed to capture new markets and much of the quantity had been shipped to East African countries and Bangladesh. However, he said Pakistani wheat products (value-addition) have become popular in Middle East and Far East.
Mr Kandhari urged the government to develop wheat storage capacity in the country by building silos.
He said annually around 20 to 22 per cent of wheat crop is damaged in the absence of proper storage system for such an essential food grain.
The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) has also reduced wheat flour (Atta) prices by Rs1.60 per kg owing to falling prices of wheat in the domestic and world markets.