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Saturday December 04, 2021

Govt mulls mechanism for one wheat support price for all farmers

November 26, 2021
Govt mulls mechanism for one wheat support price for all farmers

ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to tighten rules for wheat support price mechanism as it plans to curtail provinces authority in order to implement one price system for all farmers across the country, a minister said on Thursday.

Wheat purchase prices have led to a clash between the opposition-led Sindh government and the PIT-ruled federal government, which believes Sindh had created ‘price distortion’ by offering high support prices to farmer in the province.

“We need to find a constitutional way out to set a uniform support price of the commodity which would applicable on entire country,” Syed Fakhar Imam, minister for National Food Security and Research told a news briefing

Food minister was also accompanied by minister for Industries Khusro Bakhtyar. Imam said the federal authorities sought Sindh inputs before announcing the minimum support price of wheat but “it did not provide.”

“We determined minimum support price for three provinces at Rs1,950/40 kg of wheat and after two to three days, Sindh government fixed it at Rs2,200/40kg.”

“It creates distortion and affects the common person and so on encouraging hoarding and profiteering.”

The minister said 20kg bag of wheat flour is priced at Rs1,400 in Karachi “due to the distortion” created by the provincial government while in Punjab, KP, its price is Rs1,100.

“Especially in urban Sindh (Karachi, Haiderabad, Sukkar) there is huge distortion due to such decision of the Sindh government,” he added. “People in Sindh are being forced to buy costly wheat and flour which unjustified.”

Minister said Sindh government also fixed sugarcane crop indicative price Rs20 to 25 higher than other provinces.

Imam said enough wheat stock is available in the country which is sufficient till June 2022. Current stock is 5.3 million tons while additional 1.3 million tons of wheat to be imported, taking up total stock to 6.6 million tons.

"We are releasing 40,000 tons of the commodity on daily basis and if this release continues, the stock would be available till first week of June next year," he added

Khusro Bakhtyar, minister for Industries termed Sindh government as “safe haven for hoarders and profiteers”.

“A huge amount of urea fertilizer which was basic input for most of the major crops was transported from rest of the country to Sindh to hoard it.” Bakhtyar alleged.

He said Punjab government was conducting crackdowns against dealers involved in hoarding “while the Sindh government was doing nothing against them therefore they were shifting it to Sindh province”.