ISLAMABAD – Owing to the failure of the provincial government and non-cooperative attitude of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Limited (PASSCO) and Food Department, growers are being forced to sell their produce at a throwaway price to powerful middle-men and flour millers.

According to reports, small growers in the province are compelled to sell their wheat of Rs. 950 to Rs. 1050 per 40kg in Punjab province against the support price of Rs. 1,300. However, growers who have a vast piece of land are selling their wheat on support price of Rs. 1300 per 40 kg.

Wheat harvesting begins this year about two weeks earlier as compared to past practice because of changing weather pattern but Punjab Food Department is apparently not prepared to start procurement accordingly.

According to growers, both the federal and provincial governments had announced that they would start the distribution process of Bhar Dana (gunny bag) among farmers from April 15 and then the new date of April 20. Now the next date issued from 25 to 30th April for the distribution of Bhar Dana.

The wheat procurement campaign will be started formally on 1st May 2017. The wheat procurement policy 2017 was revised lately, due to which procurement did not start from April 15.

Farmer organisations are furious over the role of provincial food department. The private buyers are not only purchasing wheat at relatively lower prices but are also forcing farmers to give extra 2-3kg. Other cuts on account of gunny bag price and transportation cost leave farmer high and dry at the mercy of middlemen and flour millers.-Online