ISLAMABAD: The Jordan government has refused to purchase wheat from Pakistan, citing “substandard quality issues” as the reason to decline the offer.
Pakistan has surplus stocks of wheat and is looking at potential markets to sell the commodity to.
Officer in the federal secretariat shared that earlier this year the Jordanian government had expressed its willingness to purchase 500,000 tons wheat from Pakistan and the demand was put forward to the provincial governments.
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Since then many correspondences have continued between the provincial authorities and the Jordanian government including rounds of negotiations held to ship Pakistani wheat to Jordan.
The officer said that the two sides had also agreed on the rates. However, the quality of wheat remained a hurdle in its way. The officer said that the standard of Pakistani wheat is much better than that in other countries but because of lying unattended in open spaces and stores it has become defected.
He said that despite the refusal, Jordan is interested in purchasing wheat from Punjab on the condition that they improve the standard and quality of the product.
“Stiff competition, due to surplus wheat available in the international market, has narrowed options for our grain and this is the reason that different countries either reject the high price or make different demands,” the officer added.
“We had pinned hopes to create sufficient space after exporting wheat to Jordan,” said the officer.
When contacted for comments, Director Food Punjab Asif Bilal Lodhi said that negotiations with Jordan are under way for a future agreement.
He mentioned that Jordanian authorities have certain objections over the quality and rates of Pakistani wheat.
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“They want wheat without dust and other ingredients. We purchase wheat from farmers in such a condition and it is not possible for the government to ensure segregated grains for export,” said Lodhi.
In an attempt to get rid of the surplus wheat the federal government had suggested that Arab countries purchase wheat in return of oil but the proposal went unheard.
Pakistan at present has 9 million tons of wheat. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has allowed provinces to export subsidised wheat; 400,000 metric tons from Punjab and 200,000 metric tons from Sindh.
The price of wheat in the international market is cheaper than that available in Pakistan due to which the government has taken steps to counter the situation.
Recently, on the request of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the ECC increased the regulatory duty on import of wheat from 40% to 60%.
The federal secretariat officer further said that the remaining option is to ship wheat and wheat flour to Afghanistan.
Courtesy : Express Tribune