ISLAMABAD: Surplus wheat production has become a perpetual problem resulting in losses to the tune of billions of rupees, therefore, the government should frame a new wheat export policy and try to reduce the area under cultivation for wheat, a business leader said Monday. The surplus wheat stocks with provinces and the federal government have reached a record high of nine million tonnes of which half is lying in the open on the mercy of the weather, said Atif Ikram Sheikh, former president of the ICCI. He said that all the efforts to export wheat have remained counterproductive despite handsome subsidy as the international prices are almost half to the local prices. Moreover, the rebate claims of the exporters are still pending which will make it difficult for the business community to export more. Atif Ikram Sheikh who is also Group Leader of HCCI and Chairman FPCCI Regional Committee on Industries said the support price of the wheat, which presently stands at Rs 1,300 per mound, is the reason behind all the trouble. The wheat consumption in the country stands at 23 million tonnes while production is over twenty-five million tonnes resulting in surplus while the incoming crop is expected to add to the surplus stocks and billion would be required to keep it from the weather. He said that a sizable quantity of wheat is wasted every year but consumers have to pay a heavy price for the wheat flour, which is beyond understanding. He said that government should introduce a new export policy and limit area under cultivation by offering incentives to the growers for sowing other crops and make the schemes regarding subsidies and incentives transparent. Published in Daily Times, October 10th 2017.