To meet the wheat procurement target of 7.05 million tons fixed by the federal government for 2016-17 at an estimated cost of Rs 218 billion, Punjab Food Department has decided to start wheat procurement by the end of this month while Food Department of Sindh and PASSCO have already launched a procurement campaign of the commodity.
An official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that the government has decided to enhance wheat procurement this year as compared to last year. Punjab will procure 4.50 million tons, Sindh 1.10 million tons, KP 0.3 million tons, Balochistan 0.10 million and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) 1 million tons.
A senior official of the Punjab Food Department said that the distribution of gunny bags among farmers, the Food Department and PASSCO for wheat procurement will commence on April 30 in the province. “The food department had earlier planned to start distribution of gunny bags on April 15 and to launch wheat procurement on April 20 but it was delayed due to bad weather,” he said.
He said that as many as 376 wheat procurement centers would be set up across the province to facilitate farmers. The official said that Sindh Food Department and PASSCO had started wheat procurement on March 31 at the rate of Rs 1,300 per 40 kg.
Wheat procurement target has been set at 1.10 million tons this year, which is 200,000 tons more than the previous year, he said. He further said that 442 procurement centers have been set up in the province, while gunny bags have also been provided to farmers.
He further said that last year, PASSCO and provincial food department had procured 5.203 million tons against the allocated target of 6.6 million tons. However, farmers complained that the low level of public sector wheat procurement targets deprived them of selling wheat at the announced price of Rs 1,300 per 40 kg.
The official said that according to the first estimate received by the ministry, wheat production during the Rabi season was expected to be 25.45 million tons from an area of 9.17 million hectares against the target of 26 million tons. According to an aerial photographic survey conducted by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) wheat production for 2015-16 was estimated at 27.526 million tons from an area of 9.576 million hectares area and average yield of 2874 kg/ha. The projected wheat production in Punjab province is 20.525 million tons, Sindh 4.604 million tons, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KP) 1.491 million tons and Balochistan 0.906 million tons.
Source: Business Recorder