FAISALABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Food Security Javed Iqbal Cheema said that there was no shortage of sugar in the country and from October 5, sugar would be available to the citizens at Rs90 per kg. At the same time, awareness is being created among the farmers about the use of modern technology so that the production of wheat can be increased as per the requirements of the country.
Addressing a press conference after the seminar at Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad on Monday, he said that as the wheat sowing season is approaching, a series of meetings and seminars have been started to increase its production. The seminar was held at Ayub Agricultural Research Institute in which scientists and officials of the Department of Agriculture were urged to introduce high yielding varieties of wheat so that excellent yields of wheat could be achieved.
He said that we have achieved 27.8 million tonnes of wheat production this year which is sufficient for our needs at present but in future we need to produce 30 million tonnes of wheat. He said that the population of Pakistan is increasing rapidly while the production of our commodities is also increasing steadily. He said that the government was taking steps to increase the production of wheat to 30 million tonnes out of which 22.5 million tonnes would be produced in Punjab while the rest of the provinces would add 7.5 million tonnes. He said that the government was reviewing the performance of all departments to maximise the production of agricultural commodities.
He said that the government was also giving subsidy on seeds, fertilisers and medicines to the farmers to increase the agricultural production so that the financial difficulties of the farmers could be alleviated. He said that the government has taken steps to control the rising price of sugar in the country and now consumers will be provided sugar at Rs90 per kg from October 5, while after the new crushing season the price will be further reduced to Rs80 Per kilogram.
He said that Pakistan produced 81 million tonnes of sugarcane this year which produced 7.2 million tonnes of sugar which was more than our requirement as at present our domestic requirement of sugar is 6.4 million tonnes but some elements managed to stockpile sugar. This created a shortage in the market which led to an increase in the price of sugar. However, the government has now imported sugar from abroad for its immediate remedy which has reached Pakistan and from October 5, sugar will be available to consumers at Rs90 per kg. He said that the cheaper Chinese facility would be available at markets, utility stores and one thousand outlets set up by the government while from next year the government would fix the price at Rs80 per kg and if necessary, for the convenience of consumers. He said that the number of outlets would be increased from one thousand to 1500 for the convenience of consumers if the need arose. He said that the Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of all the districts have been directed to control the price of sugar and ensure its supply at a fixed price. "If there is a violation of the law, the media should highlight it so that immediate action can be taken against those who break the law," he said. Replying to a question, he said that the government was also trying to overcome the flour crisis and we had lifted 13,000 tonnes of wheat from flour mills while we would lift another 16,000 tonnes. He said that in Punjab A 20 kg bag of flour costs Rs1,151 while the government wants to bring the rate to Rs1,100 so that the flour is available to the public at Rs55 per kg. While the price of flour in Pakistan is the lowest compared to other countries, the government has nevertheless devised a plan to subsidise flour, sugar, ghee and pulses to one and a half crore poor households so that these households can be provided these items at low prices.
In reply to another question, he said that the government was reducing taxes on ghee, sugar and wheat in order to bring down the prices of ghee, sugar and flour, and in this regard a summary was sent to Parliament to reduce the prices of these items and soon it will be implemented in a couple of weeks after which the flour will be available at Rs55 per kg, sugar at Rs90 per kg and the price of ghee will also come down.
He said that due to Corona epidemic, global commodity prices have gone up from 34 percent to 154 percent but essential commodities in Pakistan are still cheaper than other countries. He said that according to the joint report of Yahoo Finance Company, My Bank Company and Living Standard Population, the item which is Rs100 in New York, Rs76 in US, Rs32 in Vietnam and Rs27 in Egypt, is available in Pakistan at Rs18.
Speaking on the occasion, Provincial Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jahanian Gardezi said that a campaign has been launched to increase wheat production. He said that an ordinary farmer could get 20 percent less yield than a progressive farmer.
Therefore, the government has directed the scientists and the agriculture departments to close the production gap by providing high yielding varieties of seeds to the common farmers as well as informing them about the ways to get higher yields. It will also provide facilities for purchasing fertilisers, sprays etc.
He said that it is not possible to live without wheat so a series of meetings and seminars have been started to increase its production for which Pakistan Agriculture Research Council is providing full support.-PR
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021