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Saturday, April 13 2024

Pak govt urged to ban wheat export amid Ukraine-Russia crisis

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Karachi: Agricultural experts of Pakistan have called upon the government to impose a ban on wheat exports of local grains amid serious repercussion of the Russia-Ukraine war, which will disrupt the supply of wheat in the international market.

A farmer’s lobby group, Sindh Abadgar Board, has suggested the government to maintain wheat stocks through procurement during the on-going harvest and put a stop to wheat exports.

It should be noted that Ukraine is the third largest exporter of wheat, holding at least 12 per cent share in the global export market for the staple grain.

“The war in Ukraine will push the prices higher and opportunists might sell off the food security to fill their coffers”, stated the Sindh Abadgar board.

The board also warned the government against illegal smuggling of grain to the neighboring country.

“Wheat harvest has started in Sindh and the government needed to prevent smuggling of the crops to the foreign lands”, stated a press release issued by the board.

“The government should ensure that the stocks remained within the country and that every effort is made to keep the strategic reserves”, the press release added.

The escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine will have a serious economic fallout, effects of which have already started to show in Pakistan. Local prices of gasoline, food, commodities, steel and semiconductor chips are witnessing a major increase.

Experts say that “while Pakistan is on the path of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing geopolitical tensions are likely to result in a general price increase, deteriorating current account and fiscal balances, and the stifling of economic growth.”

It should be noted that Pakistan’s bilateral trade with Ukraine during the year 2021 stood at around $800 million, with Pakistan receiving at least $791 in imports.

But with the ongoing war in Ukraine, Pakistan’s wheat import will be directly affected, as wheat imports from Ukraine account for at least 39 per cent of Pakistan’s total wheat imports.

Moreover, Pakistan’s economy is also expected to suffer with trade losses through indirect cost of the crisis in terms of global energy and commodity supply chains.

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