Wheat shortages in KPK
Wheat shortages in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa is a recurring phenomenon as every year the problem emerges due to its greater dependence on purchase of the commodity from Punjab and supplies by the federal government from the stock of Pakistan Agriculture Services corporation. The hoarding mafia takes the advantage of disruption in supply from Punjab and federal government to create artificial shortage of wheat flour in the market. In retaliation to the arrest of a few petrol pump mangers and subsequent strike of closure of sale outlets of petroleum products, the transporter have raised the fares arbitrarily and wheat flour dealers have increased the price of 85 kilogram bag from Rs.4100 to 5000.
In a meeting chaired by National Assembly Speaker AsadQaisar, which was attended by food ministers of all provinces, government of Punjab assured uninterrupted supply of wheat to Khyber Pukhtunkhwa at government to government level in addition to allowing the purchase of wheat flour by the private sector.
One wonders as to why successive provincial governments did not prioritise the projects of agriculture development and water conservation by constructing small dams to achieve food autarky. How long the people of the province shall pay the price of diverting scarce financial resources and loans of multilateral donor agencies to implantation of losses accruing grandiose mega projects at the cost of agriculture development projects, which takes years to be completed. The non-operationalization of canal for water distribution from Gomalzam dam and delay in CRBC project say it all. Shifting construction of small dam storages in rain-fed areas on the backburner is another glaring example of skewed development priorities.