Punjab Food Department has vision to improve the quality of life of citizens of Punjab by providing them quality flour at affordable prices while safeguarding the interests of wheat growers by ensuring them fair price for their produce as well as maintaining food security in the Province.
Food Department was created in the 2nd World War during 1945 to meet the deficiency of food in India. Initially its name was Civil Supplies Department and used to supply a number of articles including atta, wheat, rice and sugar. A number of items used to be distributed even after creation of Pakistan. Lastly only three items i.e. Sugar, Rice and Atta used to be distributed through rationing by the Food Department. During 1984-85 sugar was de-rationed in Junejo regime and finally atta and rice were also de-regulated during 1986. With this, rationing system was completely abandoned. However, it was decided that government may continue procuring wheat at support price and supply to the flour mills at subsidized rates and subsidy may be withdrawn gradually within next few years. Unfortunately price of atta became very sensitive issue and rulers could not gather political will to withdraw subsidy. Since then, subsidy is continuously paid, quantum of which continued to vary with the quantity of imported wheat consumed, increase in rates of transportation, increase in prices of jute bags, and mark up rate charged by the banks on the loans obtained by the Food Department.
Government had to protect the interest of the growers on one hand ensuring that they get due return of their produce and the consumers, on the other ensuring that they get wheat flour (Atta), the staple food, at affordable price. Combination of the above two contrasting objectives made provision of subsidy inevitable. Therefore, Food Department is safeguarding the interests of growers through purchase of wheat on support price fixed by the Government, maintenance of strategic reserves as well as improving the quality of life of citizens of Punjab by providing them quality flour at reasonable prices.
Under the Food Stuff (Control) Act, 1958, Food Department is responsible for regulating business of food grains which include:
Functions of the Food Department are:
- Procurement of wheat for issuance to the mills
- To act as government agent to provide a wheat purchase window to the farmers at support price
- Ensure Food Security in wheat and wheat products
- Transportation from surplus to deficit regions
- Protection of wheat from pest and other hazards
- Targeted Food Support Programmes
- Undertaking all activity related to export of wheat up to supply at port
- Co-ordination with MOF, MOC, MINFAL, other provinces and International Agencies for matters relating to wheat