The Pakistan Agricultural Storage Services Corporation (Passco) on Friday launched its procurement drive in Sindh by initiating distribution of gunny bags among wheat farmers in Hyderabad Zone.
Farmers of Umer Kot, Tando Allah Yar, Shaheed Benazirabad and Hyderabad were distributed gunny bags which fall in the Hyderabad Zone, said GM Field PASSCO Muzahir Iqbal while talking to Business Recorder.
He said they had launched distribution of gunny bags in these areas. However, he observed that higher price of wheat in the open market, weather conditions and other factors may hamper the pace of gunny bags distribution initially.
“But we are quite hopeful that the wheat procurement will pick force in next few days and will be in full swing in Sindh province during next 8-10 days,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Farmers Bureau of Pakistan (FBP) has asked the federal government to revisit the wheat procurement prices and fixing these afresh at Rs 1600 per maund instead of Rs 1400 per maund as the current open market price is hovering around Rs 1800 per maund.
Farmers Bureau of Pakistan (FBP) President Dr Zafar Hayyat while talking to Business Recorder here on Friday said that no doubt Pakistan is going through Corona crisis at the time when wheat harvesting is around the corner.
On one hand farmers pray for those who are being affected by the disease and on the other hand they are worried about the current weather conditions which may affect the productivity of wheat crop. The current rains in the country will not only delay the wheat harvesting but it can also affect the crop itself resulting in low production per acre.
Farmers this year have already suffered a lot due to bad khareef crop season, which resulted in poor rice, cotton and corn crop. Due to lockdown and different measures taken by the government to curb coronavirus spread (rightly so), the fruit and vegetable markets have crashed hence affecting the farmers.
At this critical time it becomes very important for the government to revise its wheat procurement price raising it to at least Rs 1600 per maund from current Rs 1400 per maund against the current open market price of Rs 1800 per maund, Dr Zafar added.
Along with revising the purchase price, the FBP president said the government must ensure to take the measures to buy every grain of wheat from the farmers along with safety precautions keeping the corona crisis in mind. The government has to announce it as soon as possible so that panic situation can be curbed and raise the current morale of the farmers.
Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) President Khalid Khokhar while commenting on the situation said that it is a fact that harvesting has yet not started in Punjab while it has also not completely taken off in Sindh due to weather and other factors.
However, he differed from the point of view of increasing the support price of wheat saying that instead government should work such methods which can bring down the cost of production of wheat and other food crops.