LAHORE: Wheat farmers on Saturday urged the government to increase the support price to Rs2,000 per 40kg for the next crop.
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.
Speaking to Profit, 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.
Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi called for raising wheat support price to Rs2,000 per 40kg.
Elahi said that farmers are responsible citizens of this county, their prosperity is the prosperity of the country as such the wheat support price should be as per their demand.
Syed Aqeel Haider, a progressive wheat farmer from Chiniot who moved to paradoxical agriculture years ago, said that it is about time that farmers of Pakistan shift to paradoxical agriculture as adopting this system would mitigate major challenges faced as it is a conclusive sustainable agriculture production system developed on natural processes of soil fertility and vegetation.
The paradoxical agriculture reduces the cost of production of farmers by 70pc and also reduces the use of fertiliser by 70pc in the first year and gradually drops it completely.
“Unfortunately, Pakistan’s current crop production system evolved without the understanding of the natural algorithm of soil fertility and vegetation,” he opined.
Haider maintained that we have the examples of developed countries where farmers have moved to paradoxical agriculture and are getting 100-115 mound per acre yield from wheat crops. But despite the fact that Pakistan is an agricultural economy our per acre yield is between 20-25 maund per acre.