Prices of wheat flour, a key staple food in Pakistan, increased further in September, reflecting seasonal patterns exacerbated by tight market supplies, and reached record or near-record highs.
The lower-than-anticipated production in 2020 failed to alleviate the tight market availabilities caused by a combination of below-average 2018 and 2019 outputs, as well as strong exports and low procurement in 2019. In addition, increases in the prices of gas and petroleum products in August 2020 provided further support to wheat flour prices.
In an effort to curb further price increases, the government has taken several measures to boost domestic availabilities, including the approval to purchase 180 000 tonnes of wheat from the Russian Federation on a government-to-government basis and the tendering for 1.5 million tonnes of wheat through the government-run Trading Corporation. In addition, private imports will also be allowed exempt from duties and taxes (FPMA Food Policies). As of early October 2020, the private sector had imported some 430 000 tonnes of wheat. FPMA