Tripartite meeting hints at wheat price of MNT350,000 per ton

Wheat farmers, flour manufacturers and ministry representatives have held talks to decide on prices. The meeting was marked by different perceptions and conflicting data. Growers and manufacturers were generally agreeable to MNT350,000 per ton as the post-harvest price. R.Sodkhuu, head of a union of cultivators, said this would cover all production costs.

The farmers will get some more money as incentive from the Government. Last year this was MNT60,000 per ton, and farmers are hoping for more this year. Directors of cultivating companies also want the incentive to cover wheat grown for animal feed, and not just for what is consumed by humans and used to make flour.

The Ministry representatives did not make any commitment. Incidentally, the Government last year bought wheat for MNT330,000 per ton, including the incentive, but is now selling it to some companies for MNT220,000. Of course it is the people who ultimately bear the loss.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry T.Gantulga said wheat stocks now stand at 112,400 tons, enough for four months. Manufacturers dispute this, saying only 70 percent of this wheat can be made into flour.

Gantulga said 26,000 tons of wheat from the State reserve will be distributed among five companies. Khangai will get 6,000 tons, while Mill House, Ulaanbaatar, Saikhan Khuns, and Tavan Nuur will each get 5,000 tons.

Does this mean the reserved stocks will be released little by little? Altogether 160 tons of flour is sold daily through 13 outlets in Ulaanbaatar. This is not even one-fourth of the daily consumption according to Government figures.

Former Prime Minister and former Minister for Food and Agriculture Sh.Gungaadorj has said cultivators must prepare the wheat seeds themselves. Unless it is some special sort of seed, he sees no reason for the Ministry to be involved in the work.

Flour manufacturers said they needed better quality wheat while the growers worried about their problems of transportation.

If wheat sells for MNT350,000 per ton, the price of flour would reach MNT650 per kilo or 30-40 percent more than the MNT480 set by the government.


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