Wheat prices in Punjab have plummeted as farmers are compelled to sell their produce below the government’s minimum support price of Rs. 3,900 per 40 kg. With private buyers offering as low as Rs. 3,200 per 40 kg, the agricultural community faces significant losses. The situation is exacerbated by the delay in the start of wheat procurement by the Punjab Food Department for the 2024-25 season. Recent adverse weather conditions, including heavy rains and windstorms, have further damaged standing crops, posing a threat to harvest yields and grain quality.

Farmers are calling upon the Punjab government to increase the minimum support price and double the wheat procurement target. Failure to address these concerns may lead to protests. Pakistan Kisan Ittehad President Khalid Khokhar, in a press conference, criticized the reported reduction of the wheat procurement target from four million to two million tons, citing existing carry-over stocks. Khokhar also expressed discontent over the previous caretaker administration’s decision to import 3.2 million tons of wheat, which depleted foreign exchange reserves and neglected farmers’ interests.

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Khokhar urged authorities to set the procurement target at four million tons to stabilize falling grain prices. Additionally, he appealed to the Punjab government to negotiate with the federal government to reduce input costs such as fertilizers, electricity, and diesel. Highlighting the lack of long-term planning in Pakistan’s agriculture sector compared to other countries, Khokhar stressed the need for immediate action to support farmers.

Farmers can apply for gunny bags through the Bardana app until April 17. Wheat procurement will commence at Rs. 3,900 per maund starting April 22 at 393 procurement centers across Punjab. Notably, farmers will receive delivery charges of Rs. 30 per 100 kg. A Control Room has been established to address complaints during the procurement campaign.

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