LAHORE: Punjab foresees healthy wheat production this year while harvesting in several southern Punjab districts has picked up momentum, leading to a downward trend in the price, said a senior official of the food department.
According to the senior official, 19.96 million tons of wheat are expected this year against last year’s record production of 20 million tons. “We are still very hopeful of harvesting a good crop in the province,” he observed.
Anticipating an attractive support price in the election year, farmers once again opted to put more efforts to plant wheat crop. Also, a greater application of fertiliser and some timely rains during the growth period helped a lot, he observed.
The main challenge during harvesting has been inclement weather that can lead to post-harvest losses. However, the sliding prices of wheat are also concerning, as in several markets of south Punjab prices have decreased to Rs1,100 per maund against support price of Rs1,300.
According to official data, price of wheat in the whole sale markets of the province has been below the Rs1,300 benchmark. In the last couple of days, wheat price in wholesale markets like Mian Channu, Bahawalnagar, Pakpattan and Arifwala were around Rs1,100, Rs1,040, Rs1,020, Rs1,120 and Rs1,040 per mound, respectively.
Similarly, the wholesale price of wheat in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur has been recorded around Rs1,250 per mound.
Such a market scenario depicts that price crash of wheat is imminent if the provincial Food Department fails to start the procurement drive next week, said Pakistan Kisan Ittehad (PKI) Chairman Khalid Khokhar.
He asked the Punjab chief minister to immediately start purchase of wheat through the food department to help stabilise the price.
Spokesman of Kissan Board Pakistan was also perturbed over the delay in initiation of wheat procurement drive by the provincial food department. He was of the view that the delay is costing farmers dearly due to a continuous downward movement in price.