Delay in announcement of support price for wheat is resulting in slow paced sowing of the commodity across the country thus leading to less production than the requirement and forcing the government to import the grain for domestic needs.
This was claimed by Agri Forum Pakistan (AFP) Chairman Ibrahim Mughal while talking to news persons on Monday. He said sowing is going on snail’s pace, which creates apprehensions that Pakistan may not be able to produce 27 million tons of wheat this year.
He said it is also justifiable that why growers should produce wheat, which cost them Rs 1,380 per maund to sell the same commodity at Rs 1,200 per maund. He alleged that the growers are shifting to alternative crops or even preferring to leave the fields’ empty then going for a business, which would inflict loss instead of giving them enough to meet their both ends.
He warned that as time is running out the government should immediately fix the minimum procurement price for wheat at Rs 1,500 per 40 kilograms to attract the farmers for bringing maximum area under sowing and producing not only for the domestic needs but surplus. He said at present Pakistan’s wheat standard is fetching Rs 1,570 per maund in the international market. “If government is failed to fix this price for Pakistani growers then it has to import one million tons of wheat in future by spending huge foreign exchange and that wheat too will be substandard as compared to Pakistani grain,” Mughal predicted.
Ibrahim Mughal said if government is reluctant to enhance wheat price then it should bring down prices of diesel, fertiliser, electricity and pesticides by 30 per cent at least. He said that the federal and provincial governments should realise the urgency of the matter and fix the wheat support price at Rs 1,500 per maund to avoid food crisis like situation in future.