Basmati Growers Association (BGA) has proposed a three-pronged strategy to the government for supporting the rice sector of the country including announcement of support price for coming Basmati paddy at Rs 1800 per maund, extending a subsidy to rice exporters and writing off interest on loans taken by rice traders on two years old basmati stock.
BGA President Chaudhry Hamid Malhi while talking to Business Recorderhere on Thursday has said that fixation of a support price and its early announcement would not work for the rice sector which is facing a downward trend for the last two years.
He said the government had received a proposal of fixing the price of Basmati paddy at Rs 1800 per maund. Supporting this price, the government should also extend a subsidy of US 200 dollars per tons to the exporters so they could increase exports and dispose of their past stocks and make space for buying the new one, he added. Besides this, he said that the government should also support the rice traders by writing off the interest on two years old paddy stocks they had pledged with the banks. “Without taking these steps there will be no use of announcing paddy support price or involving the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) or food procurement agencies in rice to stabilise the prices. Farmers will never get the price giving them handsome profit besides meeting their cost of production,” Malhi added.
He said that involvement of government agencies in procurement also open ways to corruption. The government should only monitor the situation and let the private sector do the business. However, if this mechanism does not work to stabilize the prices then government should extend a subsidy to the basmati growers.
BGA President urged the government to take an immediate decision as there is still time for basmati variety to come in to the market. Meanwhile, Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) leader Arsalan Khan Khakwani has urged the government to fix the support price for coming non-basmati variety of paddy at Rs 1200 per maund and for basmati rice at Rs 2500 per maund to support the growers.