KARACHI: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday demanded steps by the authorities to save wheat growers from the cartel of buyers.
In a statement from Islamabad on Sunday, PEW said: “Buyers of wheat have decided to slow down purchase of wheat so that prices could slide adding to their windfall which is exploitation of the farmers.”
According to projections, improved area under cultivation, use of DAP and rains will result in a bumper wheat crop which will be much more than the domestic requirements, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
However, reduced prices in the international market, surplus stock with the government and lack of proper storage facilities is bad news for farmers and good omen for buyers.
He said that a bumper crop will result in around seven million tonnes of surplus wheat creating storage problems giving excellent opportunity to profiteers to exploit situation. Dr. Murtaza Mughal asked the federal and provincial government to take immediate steps to safeguard interests of farmers and take note of artificial absence of investors from the market.
He said that since export of almost impossible, government can consider barter deals and export subsidy to keep market stable, adding that frustration among the farmers can result in food security issues.
Pakistan stands tenth in the world where thirty six percent of cultivable land is used to grow wheat while it is ranked 59th in the per acre yield. Lack of storage facilities results in heavy post-harvest losses which is over 30 percent in fruits and vegetables inflicting financial losses to growers and the country.