The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has asked the provincial governments to announce their wheat release policy at the earliest to bring down and maintain prices of wheat and flour in local markets by ensuring a smooth supply of grains to millers for supplying flour at affordable prices. The timely announcement would also help in removing the obstacles in demand and supply of grains, besides discouraging the malpractices of artificial price hikes and hoarding in local markets, said a senior official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Talking to APP on Wednesday, he said that currently the local markets were operating on routine mechanisms and prices of the commodities including wheat and flour were determined based on their demand and supply position, adding that hoarding of grains to influence the market was the main reason behind price fluctuation. As soon as the public sector intervenes in local markets, the demand and supply would be normalised and it would also bring stability in local prices of wheat and flour, he said, adding that it would also discourage the elements involved in hoarding and profiteering of the commodity. So far, the public sector had not been intervening in markets and the local flour mills were purchasing wheat from open markets and prices of the commodity determined by the demand and supply, he said, adding that when the provincial governments announce their wheat release policy, the prices of the commodity and its preparations would bring down as well. There were abundant wheat stocks of around seven million tons available in the official stocks excluding the imported grains, he said, adding that these reserves were more than sufficient to meet with the local consumption demand for seven months, adding that bumper wheat crops had also been harvested during last season. Besides the existing local strategic reserves, he said that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan had also been asked to accelerate the pace of imports as it was assigned a task to import 3 million tons of wheat for further improving the local reserves and ensuring smooth supply to maintain wheat and flour prices at a sustainable level. Meanwhile, giving details of local wheat stocks, he said that by September 15, 2021, there were about 6,162,156 metric tons of wheat available for local consumption. The Punjab province has over 3.690 million tons of wheat with its carry forward stocks of 457,000 tons and Sindh has 1.259 million tons with carrying forward stocks of 50,000 tons, he added. Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had 135,476 tons and 85,925 metric tons of grins respectively as the KP also possessed carry forward stocks of 22,339 metric tons, he added. The Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supplies Corporation has 538,263 metric tons of wheat with its stocks, besides carrying forward 201,234 metric tons by the period under review, he added. It is worth mentioning here that the Punjab Government had also established 337 Sahulat Bazaars and so far, supplied 4,859,715 bags of wheat flour at the subsidized rate of Rs430 per 10kg bag, additionally, the private sector has so far, procured 2.709 million metric tons of wheat and after grinding, a quantity of 0.860 million metric tons is still in the balance.