Wheat shortage hits Pakistan in unprecedented levels

The Pakistani media is filled with tragic stories of chaos and stampedes in markets coming from several areas covering all the provinces.

The current food crisis in Pakistan is marked by an unprecedented shortage of wheat across the country that may lead the country into anarchy, reported The Pakistan Military Monitor (PMM).

The ongoing economic crisis in Pakistan is a classic example of this phenomenon where poor citizens have been battling backbreaking inflation and food crises for months now without any support from various custodians of power. For a society, the pain of a calamity is most enduring when it hits the weakest section. Stricken by misery, the vulnerable ones take a long time to recoup, and the food crisis is making the future of the country’s poor look hopeless, reported PMM.

The scarcity is translating into towering prices of the staple grain which are scaling new highs every week. According to the latest Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, there was a 47.2 per cent rise in prices on a year-on-year basis for the week ending April 19, 2023.

The Pakistani media is filled with tragic stories of chaos and stampedes in markets coming from several areas covering all the provinces. As per a recent report in the prominent Pakistani newspaper ‘The Express Tribune’, thousands flock to the markets and spend hours every day for the subsidized flour bags which are in short supply.

Policemen examine the site of stampede in southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on March 31, 2023. At least 11 people were killed and more than 10 others injured in a stampede during ration distribution in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi of Sindh province. (Str/Xinhua)

In social media, videos appearing almost every day are testimony to the severity of the present crisis, reported PMM.

In a horrific video shared last month by a UK-based person, Faran Jeffery, hundreds were seen hanging from a wheat flour-carrying truck with many others chasing it. Also seen was how a child attempting to get near it narrowly escaped from being run over by the vehicle.

Several deaths have also been reported to have occurred due to the struggle of poor people for the humble grain. This includes deaths during stampedes in the queues at government distribution points for the poor, reported PMM.

Coming at the time of Eid, the high inflation rate made it challenging for many Pakistanis to purchase essential items for the celebrations. According to a report from the World Food Programme (WFP), the price of wheat has increased by 74 per cent during the last year alone.

To make matter worse, the fangs of corruption are not sparing even the poor surrounded by gloom. There are reports in the media about some Pakistani officials stealing the flour bags, reported PMM.

In April, a case was registered against 11 persons including officials involved in distribution for stealing 8,000 bags of flour in Chiniot of Punjab province. Some counterfeit tokens were also found at the local flour distribution centre.

The government agencies have chosen to blame low agricultural output due to adverse weather conditions, water shortages, locust attacks and the Russia-Ukraine conflict as the reasons responsible for the crisis, reported PMM.

However, factors like corruption in the supply chain, hoarding and black marketing skipped mentioned by those responsible for addressing the problem. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Dwindling textile sector hurts the livelihoods and economy of Pakistan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *