LAHORE: Wheat farmers on Saturday urged the government to increase the support price to Rs2,000 per 40kg for the next crop. Speaker Punjab Assembly, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi backed the demands of the farmers.
The federal government on Friday had enhanced the support price to Rs1,650 per 40kg, which was Rs15 more than the earlier approved Rs1,600.
Malik Ahsan Raza Budh, a farmer from Muzaffargarh said that the government’s announcement to increase the support price will neither provide relief to farmers nor end consumers.
“How? Consider the points. Pakistan has been in surplus mode since 2009 after the PPP government, led by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) president Asif Ali Zardari, raised the support price bar from Rs400 to Rs1,000 per 40kg in a single strike,” he recalled.
“This ushered into the safest era of food security in Pakistan. All went well till 2020. During this, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) criminally raised objection to such a higher price, which according to them, was a burden on the government in terms of storage and other factors,” he added.
Budh maintained the PTI government committed stupidity and exported the surplus amount giving a chance to the urban-based commerce players who feed on hoarding and price hike by creating a shortage and black market. “Pakistan is now importing the food staple,” he lamented.
“The government, instead of raising support prices, should subsidise fertilisers and power for farmers so that farmers can better earn money with the current support price,” the wheat farmer suggested.
Many progressive farmers from Sindh and Punjab did not agree with Budh while maintaining that the said hike in support price was “insufficient” for them.
Syed Shahzad Rizvi, a large progressive wheat farmer from Layyah told Profit that the March spell of rain has wreaked havoc on wheat farms in Punjab and Sindh, leaving the farmers in trouble.
He demanded that the government should fix the wheat support price at Rs2,000 per 40kg as Rs1,650 per 40kg support price is peanuts for farmers as this would hardly cover the costs which have been incurred during the production of wheat crop.
“The government should also ensure that the wheat is only bought at the official support price. The farmers’ plight starts with the distribution of bardana or jute bags at official procurement centres,” he added.