Shaukat Tarin directs concerned Ministries to accelerate import of wheat & sugar

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin held a meeting with the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam and SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema to review the price trend of essential commodities. SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o Industries and Production, Secretary M/o National Food Security Research, Provincial Chief Secretaries and other senior officers participated in the meeting. Reported Sabah News.

SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Cheema briefed the Finance Minister on building strategic reserves of essential commodities namely wheat, sugar, pulses, edible oil/ghee, tomatoes, onion, garlic and chicken to prevent hoarding and undue profiteering. The underlying rationale is to stabilize the prices of items of daily use. The Government will build the strategic reserves by importing 10-20% of the total consumption of the staple food items and supply into the market when needed in order to bridge the supply and demand gap. This will check the price fluctuation effectively.

In his remarks, the Finance Minister directed the concerned Ministries to accelerate the import of wheat and sugar and ensure that sufficient stocks are available for smooth supply during the current financial year. He also urged the concerned Ministries and TCP to exercise due diligence and take appropriate measures for risk hedging while floating tenders in international market.

The Finance Minister urged the representatives of the Provincial governments to take corrective measures for reducing price differential between farm and retail prices. He emphasised the need to review the entire food value chain and ensure that the farmers get a commensurate share of market value of their produce.

The SAPM on Food Security stated that farmers must follow the international best practices and look into alternate options for perishable commodities like Tomato puree, Onion powder, Garlic powder etc to meet peak demand due to seasonal variations. This will offer cost-effective products for the consumers as well.

Meanwhile Syed Fakhar Imam chaired a meeting with delegation of Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations which was headed by FAO representative in Pakistan Ms. Rebekah Bell. Meeting was also attended by Syed Anwar-ul-Hasan Bukhari, Additional Secretary (P&T), Rashid Mahmood, Additional Secretary (D/IC) and senior officers of M/o NFS&R.

Minister said that we need to revitalize the agricultural research in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan needs to create public-private partnership to enhance and make viable the agricultural research in the public sector. He said that it is pertinent to link the industry needs with the core of agricultural research in the public sector.

Federal Minister emphasized that only “Innovative Agricultural Financing Models” can lead Pakistan’s agriculture into the future. Fakhar urged FAO to bring agriculture research experts into Pakistan from USA, Japan, China, Australia and Brazil. He said that we need to transform the quality of the human resource in our national research centres so that overall agriculture sector can be led to prosperity. Fakhar stated that the curriculum of agricultural universities in the country needs to be revamped so that word class scientists can be produced locally. Both parties agreed to hold workshops to chalk out a plan to revamp the research sector of the country.

Federal Minister also said that we need to better protect intellectual property rights in Pakistan so that foreign companies can come and invest in the country. In the end of meeting Honorable Federal Minister appreciated the quick response of FAO attending this very important meeting. The meeting ended with the vote of thanks from Honorable Federal Minister for NFS&R Islamabad.