The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has proposed an increase in the support price for wheat to support farmers, a national daily reported.
Imtiaz Ali Gopang, Food Security Commissioner of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, said that the ministry wants to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat for the year 2021-22.
This is to incentivize farmers to enhance wheat productivity to meet higher demand in the region, especially from Afghanistan.
The food ministry sent a summary proposal to the commerce and finance ministries to seek their suggestions. Next, it intends to forward the plan to the Economic Coordination Committee.
Gopang did not specify the exact increase in support price, saying that the proposal was at an initial stage. Currently, the government’s wheat support price is Rs. 1800 per 40 kilograms of wheat.
Earlier in October, the National Assembly Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research recommended Rs. 2200 per 40 kilograms as the minimum support price for 2021-22. According to an official, the government is likely to increase the wheat crop support price by Rs. 150 to Rs. 200.
The government has fixed 28.9 million tonnes of wheat production for this year’s winter season. It expects 21.94 million tonnes in Punjab, 4.2 million tonnes in Sindh, 1.522 million tonnes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 1.207 million tonnes in Balochistan.
Gopang said that an increase in support price would propel farmers to increase their wheat sowing area. Last year, when the government raised the price from Rs 1400 to Rs 1800, farmers produced a record 27.5 million tonnes of wheat.
In a recent meeting of the Federal Committee on Agriculture, the Minister for Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam said the government will ensure that about 530000 tonnes of seed will be available, including 160000 tonnes of rust-tolerant varieties.
He also said the government was developing a policy to address the concerns of farmers and stakeholders. “An informed policy will be made before the sowing season to enhance wheat productivity and overall production,” he said.
Each year, the government implements policies to incentivize higher wheat production to meet an increase in demand, which is caused by an additional five to six million people being added to the country’s population every year.