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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

More steps needed to encourage cultivators of wheat

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PEW lauds govt decision to enhance wheat purchase price
More steps needed to encourage cultivators
Controlling prices before new crop is responsibility of govt
All other input prices for farmers remain same
Fertilizer subsidy should be abolished to support poor, off-colour textile sector

Islamabad: Pakistan Economy Watch has lauded the government’s decision to raise wheat procurement prices and said that growers need more encouragement. It said that government is duty bound to control hoarders, flour millers and all other price-controlling factors before the arrival of new crop in the market.

President of Pakistan Economy Watch, Dr. Murtaza Mughal in a statement issued here Friday said that increasing price of 40 kg from Rs 625 to Rs 950 will encourage farmers and they would be better able to invest in the crop which will help country. It will also bar many from switching to other crops that will save Pakistan from crises and help save much needed foreign exchange, he said

But, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, “It is only one side of the picture.” The price all other inputs including that of diesel and electricity remains the same for farmers. Scarcity of water still haunts peasants. The fertiliser shortages, black marketing, fake pesticides, lack of loans etc still exists, threatening the system.

He said that the decision will increase prices and necessary steps should be taken to save poor from the shock. Government should provide flour to misfortunate on subsidized prices. The present network of Utility Stores Corp. is insufficient to serve the purpose.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that government can slash fertilizer subsidy and use this money to provide flour to masses on affordable prices. Some amount can also be earmarked to bailout sinking textile sector.

The Rs 44 billion fertilizer subsidies have never helped farming community but millers, hoarders, middlemen, importers and officials. Otherwise, our agriculture production would not have been so miserable despite best canal system in the world and other natural gifts.

He said that flour millers should not be allowed to get over Rs 55 rupees of profit for grinding etc as this has been successfully experienced in Punjab during holy month of Ramzan.-Pak Economy Watch

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