Pakistan Business Forum ( PBF ) Demands Uniform Wheat Support Price

Wheat production

LAHORE: Pakistan business Forum ( PBF ) urged the government on Saturday to announce a uniform support price for wheat to eliminate the tactics of middleman and hoarders.

Talking to the media here, PBF Vice President Ahmad Jawad said special arrangements must be made for sowing Rabi crop, particularly cultivation of wheat in flood-hit areas in the country as wheat was the major cash crop and vital source to fulfill the dietary needs of local population. The floods had damaged more than eight million acres of crops and inflicted losses of over Rs 320 billion, he added. He said that over 205,000 tons of wheat seeds would be required to meet needs of farmers of flood affected areas in the country.

Jawad said that Punjab and Sindh had announced Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 per 40kg wheat support price, respectively while the governments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan had yet to announce the support price.

He said that middleman and hoarders would use the price disparity among provinces to distort the market, which might lead to hoarding and smuggling.

Keeping a high price would also have an adverse impact on the finances and subsidies of Federal and provincial governments. Hence, a reasonably high-profit margin, keeping in view the flood situation would be the most prudent course of action to incentivise the next wheat crop.

The PBF official said that cost of production of an average farmer is at Rs 2,495 per 40kg. “However we have to bear this in our minds that wheat is the staple crop as it ensures food security of the country and is cultivated over 22 million acres of land and accounts for 8.9 per cent of the value added in agriculture and 1.6 per cent of the gross domestic product,” he explained.