Government lauded for firm wheat procurement price

The Wheat Growers Association (WGA) has welcomed the government's announcement of maintaining the wheat procurement price at Rs 1,300 per 40 kilograms for the next fiscal year to support the farmers against declining wheat price in the international market. WGA Chairman Chaudhry Hamid Malhi termed the government's step a sensible decision in the prevailing circumstances.

He said the government extends support to three major crops - wheat, cotton and to some extent paddy. It means 60 to 70 percent of the growers have support in shape of subsidies or otherwise from the government. He was of the view that the federal and provincial governments were doing a lot to bring down the input cost of different crops and uplift the rural economy.

He said the Punjab government's step to go for bio-energy would pump Rs 1 billion alone in the rural economy of just one district of Faisalabad in one year. Regarding sowing target and production of wheat this season, he said the sowing target would be missed because of low moisture and no rains in barani areas but he hoped that increased application of fertiliser would help attain the production at par with last year.

Meanwhile, Dr Zafar Hayyat, a progressive farmer from Lodhran, talking to this scribe said that the government's decision in the prevailing circumstances is logical. He said the government subsidy on urea and DAP had brought down their rates which helped in bringing down the input cost. This means there was no need to enhance the support price this year. Nevertheless, Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) Central Secretary Information Haji Muhammad Ramzan in his brief reaction said that the government should have increased the support price.