The impression getting strengthened in the country that the incumbent government is pursuing the anti-farmer policy in particular and anti-poor in general to benefit the crony capitalists, whose greed and avarice are limitless, said Mian Manzoor Wattoo in a statement issued here today.
He was commenting on the press reports in which Federal Minister Mr. Bosan is quoted as having said that government was not contemplating to increase the wheat support price and would be increase next year.
He demanded that the wheat support price should be enhanced to Rs. 1500 per forty KG in view of the expensive inputs including the increased tariff on electricity adding that the concession in the electricity rates given to the farmers by the previous PPP government had been withdrawn as part of the IMF conditional ties.
He called upon the government to make adequate arrangements for providing wheat flour to the poor urban population on subsidized rates in order to ensure them food security.
He pointed out that the livelihood of more than two thirds of population living in the rural areas depended on agriculture and the irrational agriculture policy would hurt a large segment of the population of the country thus grossly defying the imperatives of social justice.
He described the assurance of the Agriculture Minister as laughable when he said that the wheat support price would be increased next year. No increase in wheat support price this year will force the farmers to shift to more profitable crops leading to shortage of wheat production in the country and the gap had to fill with imported commodity, he maintained.
He asked the government to introduce the policy that benefits the local growers instead of making heavy payments to the famers of foreign countries where from the wheat would be imported.
He recalled that during the previous PPP democratic government the country produced enough wheat throughout its period and surplus commodity was exported to earn foreign exchange instead of spending the same for the import of wheat.
He said that it was only due to pro-farmer policy of the PPP government that led to not only to attain self-sufficiency in wheat production but also millions of tons of the commodity was exported after meeting the domestic requirements and up keeping of the strategic reserves..