Rejecting the diction of the Punjab Government to fix the support price of wheat at Rs. 1200 per maund, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, President PPP Punjab, demanded that the price should be fixed at Rs. 1500 per maund due to expensive inputs– fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, increase in the electricity tariff, expensive diesel and tractors.
He said this in a statement issued here from the Party Secretariat adding that the marginal increase in wheat support price as announced by the Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr. Furrakh Javed in Multan yesterday, was too little and it would definitely push the farmers to shift to other crops inevitably making Pakistan a food deficient country.
Punjab government will be squarely held responsible for slipping down the country from wheat exporting country to wheat importing country, he asserted.
He said that the country had to import wheat during the firs year of the present government to meet the domestic demand. It was a manifestation of anti- farmers’ policy of the government because the country had been not only self-sufficient in the PPP government watch throughout but exported a large quantity of wheat after meeting the domestic requirements.
He pointed out that the PPP government rationalized the wheat price keeping in view the interests of the farmers and the country’s food requirements that enabled the country to attain the status of Food Secure country of the world.
He pointed out that anti- farmers policy inevitably hurt the two thirds population of the rural areas whose livelihood was based on agriculture. Those who are not directly associated with agriculture they also work during the harvesting seasons and collect enough food grains for the whole year, he observed,.
He said that agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy and developing this sector would lift the economy in more than one ways because accumulative impact of agriculture development in terms of boost to the local industry and creation of job opportunities would be staggering.
He said that it would be an excellent development strategy if agriculture was made as the top priority because it was less capital intensive and dividends were quick and far more pleasing than expectations.