As the wheat harvest is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks, the federal government set its minimum support price at Rs 1,800 per 40 kg for 2021 and decided to keep the price of wheat flour unchanged to provide relief to consumers.
The government had previously set the support price at Rs 1,650 for 40 kilos. The decision to increase the fee by Rs150 per 40 kilos was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Food Minister has defended the rise in the price of wheat support but other ministers, especially those in urban areas, opposed the proposal saying that it would cause problems.
“The increase in minimum support price will benefit the local farmers, who are playing a critical role in the provision of food grains to a large population of the country, besides providing raw material for the industrial sector and employing skilled and semi-skilled workforce,” the minister said.
The government also decided to import three million tonnes of wheat next year to ensure that the commodity was not lacking.
This year wheat production is suspected to be 26.2 million tonnes – one million tonnes more than the previous year’s production which was 25.2 million tonnes.
Crop estimates showed that Punjab would grow 19.08 million tonnes, Sindh 4.02 million tonnes and the combined production of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan would be 9.2 million tonnes, he said.
A reserve of 300,000 tonnes of wheat has already been secured, for which Pakistan’s Trading Corporation opened tenders in August. As a result, the country will have in its stock 30 million tons of wheat, with 1 million tons as a strategic reserve, explained Imam.
Punjab Food Minister Aleem Khan, who was also present at the press conference, asked the Sindh government to honor its promise to farmers and arrange for the purchase of wheat for Rs 2,000 per 40kgs.
Khan called the federal government’s decision to raise the minimum support price “historic” and said it was a great incentive for farmers who were the backbone of the nation’s economy.
The Punjab minister said the country’s wheat production is not compatible with demand. Not a single grain of wheat was smuggled in last year and all the stock was consumed, he added.
The Punjab minister asked farmers to bring their wheat crop to designated centers, where they would receive a cash payment for the harvest.