Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) has given a 24-hour deadline to the Sindh government, asking the provincial administration to lift the ban on purchase of wheat by Karachi millers.

In case its demand is not met by Wednesday evening, the association threatened that they would go on a shutter-down strike.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, PFMA Sindh Zone Chairman Chaudhry Amir Abdullah announced “we will go on a shutter-down strike for an indefinite period if free access is not provided to wheat supply from growers in upper Sindh and Punjab by 7pm Wednesday evening.”

Almost 70% of flour mills have been shut down in Karachi owing to the unavailability of wheat despite being a peak production season. “Around 92 flour mills are located in the city,” he stated.

Abdullah reiterated that the provincial government had slapped a ban on the purchase of the grain by Karachi millers until the province achieved its procurement target of 1.4 million tons in the current season.

Taking advantage of the situation, millers alleged, hoarders were buying wheat from growers in upper Sindh and would sell it at inflated prices at a time of flour crisis.

Abdullah claimed that only Karachi millers were being denied access to wheat supply.

He was of the view that the provincial government, which kicked off its procurement drive on March 5, could buy only half of the target in two months. It comes despite an estimated production of 4.8 to 4.9 million tons of wheat in the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2023.

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