ISLAMABAD: In a move to encourage more production and avoid imports, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce on Wednesday proposed that the minimum support price for wheat be at least PKR 3000 per 40 kg for the upcoming wheat crop season.
During a meeting of the committee which was chaired by Raza Rabbani Khar, MNA, it was recommended that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat should not be less than PKR 3,000 as an incentive for growers to encourage them to grow the staple crop. The committee decided that the government may announce the MSP in mid-September ahead of the wheat crop season.
Earlier, the committee was briefed on the import price of wheat 2022-23 in connection with MSP of wheat crop 2023-24. The Chair expressed displeasure at the absence of the secretary National Food Security & Research and the chief secretaries of the provinces. He directed all the representatives to attend the next meeting with their final recommendations on MSP, as well as the availability of fertilizer and the seed.
The representative from the Ministry of National Food Security along with Food Secretaries from all the four provinces briefed the committee on fixing the MSP before cultivation season. The chairman emphasized the minimum support price of wheat should be fixed at maximum level so that minimum wheat can be imported.
Meanwhile, during a meeting of NA committee on national food security and research which was also held on Wednesday, it was informed that there will be no shortage of wheat in the country despite loss of stocked wheat in Sindh in the wake of heavy rains and flash floods in the country.
Managing Director of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO), Saeed Ahmad Nawaz presented details to the committee on the loss and damage of stocked wheat in Sindh and Balochistan, saying that the loss has been estimated to be Rs4 billion.
He explained that in Khairpur, 26, 956 metric tons of wheat was damaged, while in Hyderabad, 564 metric tons of wheat was damaged due to flash floods. Out of the stock of 22 lakh and 66,000 metric tons, PASSCO has lost 52,670 metric tons of wheat in Sindh.
Secretary of the ministry of national food security and research, Zafar Hassan disclosed that the ministry has finalized the minimum support price for wheat for 2022-23, and shared it with the prime minister.
The price is fixed after developing consensus with the provinces and stakeholders. He said farmers would get a good price and the government will also try to give farmers additional profit. He said that the cost of production of wheat has been estimated to be Rs2495 per maund.
Additional Secretary of the ministry of industries and production informed the committee that there is no shortage of fertilizers in the country. A government-to-government agreement has been signed with Iran to import 3 lakh tons of DAP on a barter basis. Pakistan will supply rice against fertilizer to Iran, he said. The government will also import 2 lakh tons of DAP from China, he explained.
MNA Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan, who chaired the meeting, directed that the prices of fertilizers should be monitored properly by the relevant authorities.
Rao Ajmal feared that due to the flood situation, the area under wheat cultivation during the coming rabi season would be reduced by 20 per cent. It will take at least two months to recede the flood water and rehabilitation process, he said.