November 11, 2011


Pakistani forum calls to lift wheat support price



Agri Forum Pakistan (AFP) has urged Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to increase wheat support price from the current PKR950/40 kg (US$10.97) to PKR1,250/kg (US$14.43) as the growers are prone to a loss of PKR2,100/acre (US$24.25) if they prolong the present rate.


AFP Chairman Ibrahim Mughal said that wheat sowing season is passing at a swift pace and till date only 14% land, against the target, has been brought under wheat cultivation.


He claimed that wheat had been sown on only three million acres till date while the sowing target this year is 22 million acres. This shows indifference of the growers in sowing wheat, he said. He said that input cost currently is around PKR1,025/40 kg (US$11.84) while the current support price is PKR950/40 kg (US$10.97) Thus, the growers at the end of the season may suffer a loss of PKR2100/acre (US$24.25). He claimed that Indian government had significantly enhanced the support price of wheat.
Ibrahim termed timely unavailability of fertilisers and skyrocketing prices as another reason of the indifference of the growers. He requested the prime minister to order import of 1.5 million tonnes of urea. He said that the price should also be printed on the bags of imported urea, otherwise farmers are already getting urea bag at PKR1800 per bag instead of PKR1,300 (US$15.01) (company price) causing a loss of PKR500 (US$5.77). He alleged that this extra amount of PKR500 (US$5.77) is going into the pockets of the officers of fertiliser manufacturing companies and people in the government.


He claimed that former food and agriculture minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal had ensured printing of price on fertiliser bags so as the provincial governments could ensure its implementation. "If this is not possible, then imported urea should be sold equal to the price being charged by Fauji, Engro, Dawood and other local plants so the government could save money to be given as subsidy on fertilisers," he proposed.


The AFP chairman also expressed fear that wheat production this year may remain 2-3 million tonnes less than the target if the issues like increase in support price, availability of fertiliser and others are not solved amicably at the earliest. He said it would also result in reduction in area under wheat this year. He supported his fear saying that wheat in Punjab had been sown on 1.3 million acres till date against the target of 16.5 million acres of land.

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