ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has rejected the increase of Rs 50 per maund (40 kg) in wheat support price.
In a statement here on Thursday, Bilawal Bhutto said that after five years, increasing the wheat support price by a mere 50 rupees is a joke with the farmers. After the last PPP tenure, all successive governments have ignored the plight of the farmers. During the last PPP government the wheat support price was increased from Rs 450 to Rs 1200. This increase resulted as an incentive for the farmers and we were able to shift from a wheat importing country to a wheat exporting one.
“Wheat support price should at least be increased to Rs 1,600 per maund,” he said.
The PPP chairman said that the world over, currently wheat price stands at Rs 1,575 while our farmers are only to get Rs 1,350.
“Governments across the world protect and support the rights and interests of their farmers and agricultural communities but in Pakistan, the exact opposite is happening. Our government is anti-farmers.”
Bilawal pointed out that the prices of inputs for farming community like urea, DAP and energy have skyrocketed and the meagre increase in support price is not in line with production costs and inflation.
“This government’s anti-agriculture policies have destroyed our farming communities and as a result agricultural produce has declined. This policy will lead to food shortages.”
The PPP leader said that all major crops have seen reductions in output like cotton wheat and rice. This year decline in cotton production stands at almost seven million bales. Government has left farmers at the mercy of market forces, leading to chaos.
“After destroying our industrial sector, the PTI government is now destroying agriculture. If our farmers stop tilling their land, our country will not have enough food to survive. Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan. He urged the government to immediately bring forward a well thought out farmer friendly agricultural policy and place it before the Parliament for approval.”