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Flour crisis in Pakistan deepens

Markets have become chaotic and stampedes have left 4 people dead.

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
Klaus Nielsen | PEXELS
Klaus Nielsen | PEXELS

A shortage of wheat and a flour crisis in Pakistan is worsening as the stock of subsidized flour in the market dwindles.

Reports note the reason behind the crisis is the mismanagement between the government food department and flour mills.

The price of wheat flour has escalated recently. In Karachi, flour is being sold for US$1.71/kg according to the Express Tribune, while in Islamabad and Peshawar, a 10-kilogram (22-pound) bag of flour is being sold US$18.36 and a 20-kilogram (44-pound) bag at US$34.27.

"Plenty of wheat in storage"

The Tribune noted the Sindh government has decided to open the gates of its granaries to flush the market with wheat to bring down flour prices.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said during a press conference on January 10 that the government has abundant wheat in its storage.

The wheat quota of Sindh's flour mills has also been increased to help drop prices.

Food Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla has held a series of meetings with the Pakistan Flour Mills Association to reduce the prices of flour in the open market. The association suggested increasing the quota of wheat to the flour mills.

Stampedes over flour

With the shortages, markets have become chaotic and stampedes reported in several areas causing four people to lose their lives.

A stampede happened outside a flour mill in a Sakrand town in the Shaheed Benazirabad district while people were attempting to buy flour, which resulted in the death of three women.

On January 7, a crowd gathered in the Mirpur Khas district of Sindh after seeing flour brought on trucks from the food department. According to Pakistani media, several people were injured in the scuffle and a 35-year-old laborer was crushed by the crowd and died.

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