Prime Minister Shehbaz Bolsters Wheat Procurement to Soothe Farmer Woes

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif boosts wheat procurement target to 1.8M tons, addressing farmers' grievances and ensuring food security in Pakistan.

Mazhar Abbas
New Update
Pakistan PM Raises Wheat Procurement Target Amid Farmers' Grievances

Pakistan PM Raises Wheat Procurement Target Amid Farmers' Grievances

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken swift action to address the grievances of farmers across Pakistan by raising the federal wheat procurement target from 1.4 million to 1.8 million metric tons. He has directed the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASCO) to expedite wheat purchases and prioritize facilitating farmers while ensuring transparency in the process.

This move comes amid reports of discontent among farmers who are being forced to sell their wheat at a lower rate of Rs 3,200 per maund compared to the Punjab government's fixed price of Rs 3,900 per maund. Farmer organizations have warned that these low prices could severely impact future wheat production, as failing to offer fair compensation will discourage farmers from planting wheat next season.

The high moisture content in the grain, which poses a risk of weight reduction upon drying, has been cited by the Punjab Food Minister as a reason for the delay in procurement. However, the opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly have boycotted house proceedings and announced a protest against the government's inadequate wheat procurement policy.

Why this matters: The wheat procurement issue has far-reaching consequences for Pakistan's agricultural sector and food security. Ensuring fair prices for farmers is crucial to maintain a stable wheat supply and prevent a potential crisis in the future.

Wheat Policy: To address the complexities of the situation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has tasked a three-member ministerial committee with formulating a comprehensive policy framework for wheat procurement. "I have directed PASSCO to prioritize the immediate procurement of wheat from farmers to address their difficulties," the PM stated before his departure to Saudi Arabia.

Wheat Procurement: In a related development, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to buy 300,000 metric tons of local wheat at a price of Rs 3,900 per 40kg, which is expected to save the government Rs 9 billion. The PM's decision to increase the federal wheat procurement target and expedite purchases has been welcomed by the farming community, who have faced difficulties due to delayed wheat procurement in recent years.

Key Takeaways

  • PM Shehbaz Sharif raised federal wheat procurement target from 1.4M to 1.8M metric tons.
  • Farmers forced to sell wheat at Rs 3,200/maund vs. Punjab's fixed price of Rs 3,900/maund.
  • Opposition parties boycotted Punjab Assembly over inadequate wheat procurement policy.
  • PM formed 3-member committee to formulate comprehensive wheat procurement policy framework.
  • KP govt to buy 300,000 metric tons of local wheat at Rs 3,900/40kg, saving Rs 9 billion.