Islamabad, 12th January 2022: Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman expressed her concern over the flour prices and wheat crisis, saying, “The price of wheat in the market has skyrocketed to an unprecedented Rs 2,600 per bag, leading to another price bomb under the disastrous governance of Tabahi Sarkar. The price of flour has skyrocketed to Rs 1150 per 15 kg bag. For context, in 2013 the price of flour was Rs 35 per kg whereas now it is at a whopping Rs 76 per kg.”
She continued on to say, “The wheat crisis has been on the rise for the past several months, but the government has shown complete negligence in this regard. This crisis has been further exacerbated by the looming urea crisis that is haunting the livelihoods of farmers and agricultural workers everywhere. Despite having high production of urea in 2021, due to the incompetence, mismanagement and severe lack of vigilance, the price of urea has jumped from Rs 1,400 per bag to Rs 2,500 per bag. A massive price hike in such an essential commodity for the agricultural industry, which is the backbone of Pakistan, will be detrimental for Pakistan’s development. Farmers have had to spend hours in long queues to obtain a bag of urea, whereas small farmers, who live hand-to-mouth and are completely dependent on their crop production, have not able to afford urea at all. Due to the this crisis, experts estimate a massive 20% decrease in wheat production, which will result in another hit for Pakistan’s economy and food security.”
“It is reprehensible that the government is trying to once again evade responsibility and blame the Sindh government over the urea crisis. Over 300,000 tonnes of urea has been smuggled to Afghanistan; why has the federal government not shown more vigilance over the smuggling of this precious commodity across the border? This is going to have a direct impact on the food supply and food security within Pakistan and will disproportionately impact women and children. Recent reports show that 40% of children in Pakistan are underweight and over 50% are affected by stunting. As for women, 41.7% of women of reproductive age are reported as anaemic,” said the Senator.
Discussing the mismanagement of the crisis, the Senator said, “Instead of regulating supply and subsequently capitalising on our urea production by exporting it on the international market with comparable prices, Pakistan has now imported 50,000 tonnes of urea. Pakistan’s trade deficit is already at a whopping $24.79 billion for the first 6 months of the financial year. Urea exports could have brought the trade deficit down instead, the government’s negligence will widen it even further.”
She concluded by saying, “Not only can Pakistan produce enough urea to meet the domestic demand, but we can also export it rather than importing it from other countries. However, due to the mismanagement and smuggling of urea, the crisis still looms over the heads of all Pakistanis. On January 21, the PPP will lead farmers’ protests and rallies across the country. Every citizen will participate in PPP farmers’ solidarity rallies against this incompetent government.”