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Contract for 250,000 tonnes wheat export to Iraq lost
KARACHI , Pakistan lost wheat export contract to supply 250,000 tonnes to Iraq under the UN Oil for Food Programme due to change in the government policy on wheat exports, wheat exporters revealed here on Friday.
In a representation, they appealed to the government to reconsider its policy of supplying wheat to the wheat exporters, which was stopped due to the fears of shortage in the country.
They said that taking advantage of the cancellation of Pakistani export contract, Australia and the US immediately released wheat stocks for the distressed Iraqi people and their vessels had already arrived at Umm Qasr.
They pointed out that during the past regime, the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) had decided that a minimum of 500,000 tonnes would be annually exported regardless of stock surplus/deficit in the country.
They recalled that at a meeting with the wheat exporters, the then Commerce Minister, Abdul Razzak Dawood, was asked if this export policy was for long term or was it just a measure to get rid of the surplus stocks because the buyers liked to enter into long term contracts and any supply gaps would hinder the marketing efforts for Pakistani wheat.
The minister had replied that the ECC decision had come to stay.
Following the meeting, both the private and public sector exporters achieved a export volume of 1.8 million tonnes, the exporters said, adding that the result of this shift in wheat export policy would definitely have negative impact on marketing efforts and long term prospects for Pakistani wheat in the international market.
The exporters endured great pains in promoting the export and acceptability of Pakistani wheat in the international market and a gap in supply would result in loss of markets gained after long efforts.
Listing plus points about the quality of Pakistani wheat in the international market, they said that the Kenyan importers had hinted at their preference for Pakistani milling wheat over their traditional suppliers in Argentina, Ukraine and Black Sea origin.
They pointed out that both India and Afghanistan had reported bumper crops and any likelihood of smuggled into these countries would greatly be reduced as the prices in Pakistan were higher because of the imposition of inter-provincial movements.
They said that both Australia and the US lobbies in wheat trade were creating an impression that Pakistani wheat crop was short.
The reasons being the Americans were inducing Pakistani importers to import American wheat on a three-year credit.
MGR Archive 4.8.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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