LAHORE (Staff Reporter/APP) – Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Saturday announced setting up of Punjab Kissan Commission and a historic package of Rs 100 billion for farmers.

Addressing Punjab Agriculture Conference 2016 at a local hotel, he said that Rs 100 billion funds would be spent on welfare of the farmers and agriculture development to increase per acre yield during the next two years.

The chief minister said that agriculture was the backbone of national economy in the real sense and promotion of agriculture, prosperity of farmers and increase in per acre yield was his mission.

This agriculture conference, he said, had also been held in view of the uplift of agriculture, therefore, farmers’ representatives, agriculture experts and government members should actively participate in working groups and formulate concrete proposals and recommendations to formulate a solid agriculture policy.

He said, “We have to march forward jointly for making farmers powerful and the province a home of grains and agriculture of the region.”

He said that agriculture conference was not a traditional convention but a serious forum through which a solid strategy had to be evolved for promotion and development of agriculture.

Sharif said that measures had been put in place for promotion of livestock during last seven and half years but desired results were yet to be achieved, while our farmers worked day and night but there was no increase in per acre yield. He said that agriculture extension service had ended and research institutions were not doing that desired work due to which the process of giving advice to farmers had also been stopped.

He said that increase in per acre yield was not possible without transferring modern technology and results of agri researches to the farmers. He said that agriculture planners, government, agriculture research institutions and universities would have to work jointly.

Shehbaz Sharif said that Punjab government took effective steps to ensure due return to farmers of their produce and also gave away tractors to small farmers at cheaper rates through subsidy of billions of rupees whereas there had been a close contact with farmers’ organizations for resolving their problems.

The PML-N government protected interests of sugarcane growers and ensured payment of sugarcane at Rs 180 per maund, while, another province fixed sugarcane price at Rs 160 by doing politics but he took stand and not a single penny was reduced and its main reason was to protect the interests of the farmers, he mentioned.

The chief minister said that the price of wheat was fixed at Rs 900 per maund in 2010 for the benefit of farmers and he visited every nook and corner of the province to ensure price of wheat to the farmers.