Policy of encouraging wheat cultivation has backfired: ICST


Business Reporter

Islamabad:Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders on Sunday said government’s policy of unnecessarily encouraging wheat cultivation has backfired as it has resulted in surplus stocks and annual losses to the tune of billions.
Government has taken a laudable step to freeze the wheat support price but it should consider a cut of Rs 300 to discourage wheat cultivation to reduce losses, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt.
In a statement issued here today, he said lauded the government for keeping support price for wheat unchanged terming it in the best interest of the masses as the decision will help to keep price of roti unchanged and keep inflation under control.
However, he said that wheat support price should be decreased as it has attracted a lot of farmers resulting in additional cultivation of wheat which must be reduced as it has damaged other crops.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the support price for wheat is Rs 1300 per 40 kg which is almost double than the wheat available in the international market which means that poor masses are forced to pay double price for the staple.
The business leader said that government has fixed wheat output target at 26.01 million tonnes despite the fact that around three million tonnes of surplus wheat is rotting in the storage facilities and this year additional millions of tonnes of wheat will be added to it.
Government has allowed export of nine million tonnes of wheat but it will not work due to high price of the commodity that costs almost double than the international market.
The federal and provincial governments tried to export wheat through a combined subsidy of 90 dollars per tonne which failed therefore discouraging farmers is the only option to reduce area under cultivation for which reduction in support price has become imperative, he said.