Wheat prices plummet in Punjab as govt delays procurement

Govt’s policy causes distress among farmers who fear huge financial losses and a potential decline in wheat production next year

Wheat prices in Punjab have plunged below Rs 3,000 per maund (approximately 40 kilograms) due to the provincial government’s failure to begin its procurement campaign. 

This has caused significant distress among farmers who fear financial losses and a potential decline in wheat production next year.

Despite a record harvest this year, the Punjab government’s “poor strategy” for wheat procurement has stalled the process, leaving farmers with limited options. The government set a support price of Rs 3,900 per maund, but with no official buying in sight, prices in the open market have dropped to Rs 2,900.

Farmer organizations warn that these low prices could severely impact future production. They argue that failing to offer fair compensation for their crops will discourage farmers from planting wheat next season.

Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin stated on Friday that the current moisture content in the grain is as high as 18%, preventing his department from purchasing the produce. This high moisture level poses a risk of weight reduction upon drying, resulting in potential losses for the government.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan highlighted that despite the government’s fixed minimum support price of wheat at Rs 3,900 per 40kg, the open market price stands at Rs 3,200. Growers hesitate to sell to the department due to uncertainty regarding procurement, unlike previous practices.

He expressed concerns over billions of rupees held by middlemen instead of reaching the farming community. 

On the other hand, opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly boycotted house proceedings on Friday to show solidarity with wheat growers and announced a protest from Monday against the government’s poor wheat procurement policy.

Liaqat Baloch, Deputy Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, criticised the government’s handling of the situation. He accused them of “worst blackmailing” and neglecting farmers’ needs. 

The lack of government procurement has also resulted in a shortage of Bardana (grain sacks), further limiting farmers’ bargaining power in the private market, he said.

KPK to buy local wheat

In a related development, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to buy 300,000 metric tons of local wheat.

According to the provincial food minister, the government has fixed the price of wheat at Rs 3900 per 40kg and the government has decided to buy 300,000 metric tons of local wheat.

Food Minister Zahir Shah Toro said that Rs 29 billion have been allocated for the purchase of wheat, buying wheat at the local level will save Rs 9 billion.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The govt better stop market intervention and let free market mechanism work. The farmers as well consumers would be better off. The government would also save huge sum of money spent every year on procurement, storage and distribution of wheat.

  2. Might is right,3years back wheat price started from 1200 to 1800 to 3900 per mon,but this is used by every person,I m doing government job but I not support continuously increasing wheat price,I gave not only sale tax like farmers but also income tax also which are only now approximately 3 million,in this way we have facing double burden,same rule for all persons, farmers along e other business man etc not have income tax.Indeed in this country no benefit for tax payers.i m sick from one year without pay but no return from government even I m tax payer from 25years.i m taking my routine medical treatment privately like sugar,B.P,Spine Accident,now for bilateral Frozen shoulder e involving neck&upper back.For leaves at every place demand money r big sifarish,even for EOL,but no help as orthopedic surgeons said this disease take more than one year we can’t give u medical for more than two t three weeks,then on what basis I took leaves???

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  4. why the farmers and mafias are weeping they do not give any tax why the sales tax is not taken from them and ordinary person pays tax and an ordinary businessman pays 30 per cent tax why the
    farmers and big landlords are not paying taxes
    they should be brought under tax net immediately

  5. GOVERNMENT OF PUNJAB FOOD DEPARTMENT & PASSCO A FEDRALLY OWNED WHEAT PROCURRING AGENCY ARE USIBG DELAYING TACTICS FOR PURCHASING WHEAT FROM FARMERS.THIS SITUATION IS NOT ACCEPTABLLE AT ALL, MEANWHILE IT IS A SPECIAL REQUEST TO MOHTARMA MARYAM NAWAZ CM PUNJAB TO TAKE NOTICE OF THE SITUATION BY DIRECTONG FOOD DEPARTMENT TO PURCHASE SURPLUS WHEAT FROM GROWERS AT DESCRIBED SUPPORT PRICE OTHERWISE IT WILL BE MAJOR POLITICAL SETBACK TO PMLN THE RULING PARTY.

  6. Care Taker Govt. decision of importing wheat at wrong time causeed the current situation. Some one will have to pay the price of wrong decision. Govt. dont have money to buy wheat becasuse it already have some stock. let the nation know the bases on which import of wheat I’m March was allowed and let those traders who imported wheat to export flour should be made to take the responsibility.

  7. It is incorrectly assumed that farmers are not taxed. All farm inputs like fertiliser, insecticides, weedicide, farm equipment, fuel for tubewell and machines are taxed. I Agriculture Income tax is levied based on income or acerage whichever is higher.
    It was our agriculture sector that saved this country during COVID. While the rest of the world isolated, our farmers worked day and night to maximise farm output supplying vegetables and grain.
    The government may obtain short term benefits from letting market forces to manipulate the prices but if the farmers shy away from planting wheat next year ,then be prepared for grain shortage and it’s consequences.

  8. It is a murder of farmer by decreasing wheat prices because how it is possible farmers buy fertilisers from black market moreover, the electricity unit for tubewell is very costly and in the last our government and the people who never feel the pain of farmer said wheat is need of every one so the price of wheat may decrease . if you want that wheat price gone decrease than you need to provide cheap fertilisers and decrease electricity unit price otherwise after year after year farmers may shift another crop instead of wheat due to expenses are more than profit .

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  10. Wheat is important food element of masses (lower & middle class) of Pakistan. If Government will not assure a support price, the farmers will move to other profitable crops, which will result into drop in national wheat production.

    Thus will cause shortage of wheat in market and will cause sever food shortage. Thus food security of country will be compromised. Same thing has happened in past when government departments didn’t not handled the matter in professional manner and created hardship for general public to procure wheat for their family. The effect was also felt on foreign reserves of Country when to handle the the worsening situation the wheat has to be imported at rate almost double then prevailing in local market.

    Secondly all the inputs related to agriculture are heavily taxed, resulting in high growing cost. The majority of farmers cannot afford heavily taxed input items essential for good yield, resultant it effects the agriculture production as well as income of farmers. Further to make things worse, Revenue Department also collect tax from farmer.

    So dear all with out having clarity on the issue on must restrain for commenting.

    Government must act immediately to handle worsening situation.

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