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Wheat barter deal: Ministry contemplating asking Iran to send inspection team




  • The Ministry of National Food Security and Research is learnt to have decided to write a letter to the Iranian government, requesting it to arrange a visit of an inspection tteam to examine wheat quality Iran recently again agreed, in principal, to import wheat from Pakistan under barter trade.

    “Iran has agreed to import a million tons of wheat from Pakistan under a barter trade deal at international prevailing price of wheat on July 16 ie around $347 per ton during talks held in Tehran between a Pakistani delegation and Iranian officials over a week ago,” an official told Business Recorder on Thursday. He said that a delegation, headed by National Food Security and Research Minister Mir Israrullah Zehri, including former minister NFS&R Nazar Muhammad Gondal, former secretary NFS&R Shafqat Hussain Nagmi and other senior officials rushed to Tehran on July 15.

    During the ensuing meeting Pakistan requested Iran to send their experts to take a sample of wheat and test it in a neutral laboratory which would enable the Iranian side to ascertain whether Pakistani wheat was similar to that of US, Australia and Kazakhstan. “After the end of the deadlock…the NFS&R has decided to write a letter to Iranian government to learn when their inspection team is arriving in Pakistan to check the wheat quality,” the official added.

    He said that in the meeting both sides had decided that international fertiliser and wheat prices of July 16 would be the benchmark for the barter trade deal. It was also agreed that Iran would start importing wheat from Pakistan after a month. The Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) will make arrangements for wheat exports to Iran and their experts would check the quality of wheat in Karachi, he said. The official said that Pakistan had offered a million tons of wheat to Iran, and in return, Tehran will provide fertilizer and iron ore. Iran had earlier expressed an unwillingness to accept Pakistani wheat, which it said contained ‘karnal bunt’ or ‘Tilletia Indica’ during a visit of a Pakistani delegation on April 26 this year to Tehran.

    However, the issue of Karnal bunt was resolved during the recent talks between the two countries, he said. The official said that Pakistan’s wheat has 0.3 percent ratio of karnal bunt (a fungal disease) whereas 1 percent “is internationally acceptable level”, he said.

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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