Pakistan Agri Forum has rejected new wheat support price of Rs 1,200 per 40-kilogram, announced by Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) on Thursday and demanded support price of Rs 1,300 as overhead costs for farmers have increased substantially during last one year.
Talking to Business Recorder, Ibrahim Mughal, Chairman Pakistan Agri Forum said despite repeated requests announcement of wheat support price was made after the sowing period. The delay in the announcement of raise in wheat support price may result in some 1-1.5 million tons decline in wheat production during 2012-13, he added. “Wheat sowing has already ended on November 20 and now new price announcement will not make a positive impact on upcoming wheat crop. Due to delay in decision on wheat support price, we are expecting a crop of 24-25 million tons this year, against the country’s demand of 26 million tons,” he added.
Less production will result in import of massive quantity of wheat, he said and added that it seems that import mafia is actively manipulating different issues and using delaying tactics in connection with support price announcement in time. The prices of fertiliser, diesel, water, seeds and pesticides have increased manifolds during last one year, while the announced support price is not as per increase in cost, he pointed out.
“Growers are getting pesticides, diesel and fertiliser at international price, while selling their commodity at domestic price,” Mughal said. Farmers are in very dismal financial position at the moment and now they need government support, he added.
Despite government announcement of Rs 1,200 per 40-kg, our demand is still for a support price of Rs 1,300 per 40-kg, which will be a reasonable price of wheat and will encourage growers to make efforts for better crop.
“We are agree for a support price of Rs 1,000 per ton, if the government provides diesel, fertiliser, power and pesticides at lower rates or even similar to Indian prices,” he said. Last year, Rs 1,050 per 40-kg support price was also announced by the federal government in December, when sowing was almost completed across the country and government had failed to get positive result of increase in wheat support price. This year the government has announced support price in November, but still too late as sowing season has already ended, Mughal said.
“Announcement of wheat support price @ Rs 1,300 per 40 kg will ensure self-sufficiency in food for the country and give farmers their rightful earnings for the wheat crop as wheat growers have always responded positively to a support price increase if it is announced before the sowing season and the country has seen bumper wheat crops in those years,” he added.