Wheat Prices Drop
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In Punjab, wheat prices witness a sharp decline, exerting immense pressure on farmers who find themselves compelled to sell their produce below the government’s minimum support price (MSP) of Rs. 3,900 per 40 kg. Some are forced to accept rates as low as Rs. 3,200, while private buyers offer marginally better deals at Rs. 3,600 per 40 kg.

This price crash reverberates across the wholesale market, with rates plummeting below the established MSP, aggravated by the government’s delay in wheat procurement. This delay leaves local growers grappling with significant losses, as highlighted in a report by a leading national daily.

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The situation is compounded by the Punjab Food Department’s postponement of the wheat procurement campaign for 2024-25. Recent rainfall further exacerbates the plight of farmers, causing damage to standing crops and threatening harvest yields due to irregular weather patterns characterized by heavy rains and windstorms.

In response, wheat farmers are mobilizing efforts to urge the Punjab government to revise the MSP upwards and double the wheat procurement target, issuing ultimatums of protest if their appeals are disregarded.

During a press briefing, President Khalid Khokhar of Pakistan Kisan Ittehad voices concerns over reports indicating a reduction in the wheat procurement target by the provincial government, from four million to two million tons. He criticizes the previous interim administration for importing 3.2 million tons of wheat, depleting foreign exchange reserves and neglecting farmers’ interests.

Khokhar emphasizes the urgency of reinstating the procurement target to stabilize declining grain prices and urges the Punjab government to engage in dialogue with the federal counterpart to alleviate input costs such as fertilizers, electricity, and diesel. He underscores the absence of long-term strategic planning in Pakistan’s agricultural sector, stressing the need for immediate action to support farmers.

Notably, farmers have until April 17 to apply for gunny bags via the Bardana app, ahead of wheat procurement at Rs. 3,900 per maund starting April 22 at 393 designated procurement centers across Punjab. Furthermore, farmers will be entitled to delivery charges amounting to Rs. 30 per 100 kg, with a dedicated Control Room established to address grievances throughout the campaign.

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