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Friday May 24, 2024

March 20 gone but wheat procurement centres still not set up

It was said in the meeting that despite the difficulties, the bumper crop of wheat was ready in Sindh, due to which there was no need to import wheat

By Aftab Ahmed
March 23, 2024
Representational image of wheat. — Unsplash/File
Representational image of wheat. — Unsplash/File 

Hyderabad: Farmers’ organisations have expressed concern over the government’s failure to set up wheat procurement centres in the province despite an earlier announcement that such centres would start operations on March 20.

Sindh Food Minister Jam Khan Shoro had issued a statement a few days ago, in which he said that wheat procurement centres should be opened on March 20 to start purchase wheat in the province.

Shoro had said that 78 wheat procurement centres would be established in Hyderabad division, 71 in Larkana division, 68 in Sukkur division, 58 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 58 in Mirpurkhas division and 38 in Sanghar district.

However, as the procurement centres have still not been set up, due to which growers’ organisations Sindh Abadgar Ittihad and Sindh Abadgar Board have expressed serious concerns.

An emergency meeting of the Sindh Abadgar Ittehad in Hyderabad was held under the chairmanship of Central President Nawab Zubair Ahmed Talpar.

It was said in the meeting that despite the difficulties, the bumper crop of wheat was ready in Sindh, due to which there was no need to import wheat.

They maintained that the Sindh government had been benefitting the middlemen by not starting the process of buying wheat, because the middlemen were buying wheat at Rs3,400 per maund.

The Sindh Abadgar Ittehad demanded initiation of the purchase of wheat as soon as possible and said that if the Sindh government did not start the purchase of wheat soon, there would be a strong protest.

The Sindh Abadgar Board’s Mahmood Nawaz Shah said that despite establishing wheat procurement centres in the first week of March last year, the food department failed to complete the wheat procurement target and this year the centers had not been established yet.

He said the rate at which the middlemen were buying wheat this year was Rs3,700 per maund, which was less than the rate of Rs4,000 per maund set by the Sindh government. He warned that if there was further delay in opening the wheat procurement centres, it would benefit the middlemen and the farmers would suffer and this may result in less cultivation of wheat in the province in the coming years.