Friday, January 18, 2008

Wheat again, the crisis escalates

Pakistan is running short of flour which is needed to make bread.

A government decision in early 2007 to export a half-million tonnes of Pakistani wheat, after it over-projected the national harvest, has contributed to the shortfall.
This is prompting fears of further instability in the country.
To cover the shortfall the government has resorted to importing wheat from Australia and Russia at 70% higher prices.
It is now being criticised for not preventing the looming crisis.
Pakistan is a nation of more than 160 million people who consume 22 million tonnes of wheat every year.
Part of the reason for this crisis is due to frequent power cuts that have badly affected industrial production of milling wheat into flour.
This has been coupled with the ongoing political turmoil in the country that has caused logistical difficulties.
Flour shortages have caused riots in Pakistan in the past and sensitivities run high whenever there are shortages.
The crisis has now prompted the government to increase security at the mills and secure the country's vital food supplies.
It has deployed rangers and other paramilitary forces to guard mills and storehouses that hold stockpiles of wheat. (Thanks D.)

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