JI asks govt to safeguard public interests

Lahore: Ameer, Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan, Syed Munawar Hasan, has said that the government should safeguard the interest of both the grower and the general public so far as the wheat procurement price was concerned.

Commenting on the government decision not to raise the wheat procurement price, he said in a statement here on Tuesday, that the real solution lay in cutting down the growers’ cost of production by providing him agricultural inputs on subsidized rates so that they did not suffer losses in wheat cultivation.

Syed Munawar Hasan said that the neighbouring India was providing electricity, pesticides and other inputs to the farmers on subsidized rates but the Pakistan government was withdrawing the subsidies under the IMF pressure. As a result, the cost of production of the agricultural products in the country was bound to go up.

The JI Ameer said, if the growers did not consider the wheat procurement price adequate, the what cultivation and production could come down and the government would have to import the commodity from abroad on much higher prices.

He said the steep raise in the prices of electricity and diesel, agricultural tools and implements and pesticides in the recent months had broken the back of the small farmers.

He pointed out that as for fertilizer, the official price of a DAP bag was Rs. 3600 whereas it was available in the black market for Rs. 5200. Similarly, a bag of Urea was being sold for Rs. 1800 as against the fixed price of Rs. 1300. The middle men were minting money while the growers as well as the general public were suffering. The prices of agricultural pesticides had risen almost three times within the last four months, he added.

The JI Ameer said, with the increase in electricity tariff, the flour mill owners automatically raised the flour prices, and the prices of all products made from wheat also went up. The price of Roti had gone up from Rs. 4 to Rs. 6 during the last four months, he said. However, this did not benefit the growers in any way.

He said if the government had to raise the prices of electricity, diesel and other items for genuine reasons, it should provide subsidy to the grower so that his cost of production did not increase.

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