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LAHORE: The Punjab food department will launch wheat procurement drive 2021 across the province from April 01 and the procurement target has been set from 3.5 million metric tons to 5 million metric tons.

Process of distribution of gunny bags (bardana) has already been started to the farmers without any discrimination from 297 procurement centers set up in the province. Sources in the provincial food department said that the target is 3.5 million metric tons but umbrella approval of another 1.5 million metric tons has been received from the provincial cabinet to fully facilitate the wheat growers. They also said that the procurement is expected to take speed by April 10 as harvesting has started just in Southern part of the province.

Similarly, the Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (PASSCO) has sent a proposal of buying 1.2 million metric tons of wheat this year, some 6,000 metric tons lower than the target of previous year. “We are awaiting the approval from the federal government of our target though our preparations are final to launch the procurement in 16 tehsils of Punjab and other areas designated in other parts of the country,” said GM Field PASSCO Muzahir Iqbal while talking to the Business Recorder here on Tuesday.

Talking about wheat crop situation, DG Agriculture (Extension) Anjum Ali said that they are expecting 19.6 million metric tons of grains this year. He said the damage due to recent rain was not that much as was being trumpeted in some section of the press.

Meanwhile, Senior & Food Minister Punjab Abdul Aleem Khan said that all necessary steps including Corona SOPs would be ensured at the wheat procurement centers and maximum facilities would be provided to the farmers. He added that “no queues no wait” policy will be adopted for supply of “bardana” to the cultivators at these procurement centers.

Food Minister said that after an increase of Rs400 in the official price of wheat, new crop will be purchased at Rs1800 per maund which is indeed good news for the farmers community. He further said that this year again farmers have been exempted from “fard” and other land documents for the purchase of “bardana” and they will get it in abundance on the basis of “first come first served”. Aleem added that he himself will visit the wheat procurement centers in different cities and strict action will be taken if negligence seen anywhere by food department.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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