ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the timely decision of increase in the support price of wheat to Rs 1300 per 40 kg, slapping of 20 per cent of regulatory duty on import of wheat and decrease in the petroleum prices, particularly in the price of diesel, would reap huge dividends to farmers.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, the Prime Minister said the government was fully cognizant of the problems of the people and was taking comprehensive long-term measures to significantly enhance their living standard by providing them all basic facilities of life.

He said that the decrease in petroleum princes and other measures would help the farmers earn an estimated extra income of Rs. 3500-5000 per acre which will have a salutary effect on the quality of their life in particular and rural areas in general and assured that the agriculture sector would be protected and encouraged so that the objective of food security in the country can be attained.

This increase in the support price of wheat would encourage the agriculture sector, as a uniform support price would provide a level-playing field to all farmers in the entire country and thus encourage farmers to bring more lands under cultivation. Similarly, the recent reduction in oil prices will benefit the masses particularly agriculture sector as it would reduce the cost of input, he emphasized.

The Prime Minister said that the government has taken a series of measures to encourage the agriculture sector in the country.

Recounting the measures taken by the government to bring reforms in agriculture sector and streamline the backbone of the economy so that it gets a boost.

Earlier, the Prime Minister recalled that in January this year the government had decided that imported as well as locally manufactured urea would be made available at Rs. 1786 per bag and these rates will be stamped on each bag. The decision was taken to remove corruption due to the difference in price of imported and local urea and also exploitation of farmers by the middleman and a relief to the masses.

The Prime Minister said that the government was bearing a subsidy of Rs. 747 per bag as the present estimated cost of imported bag is Rs. 2527.

He also said that a special subsidized tariff for electricity rates of Rs. 10.35 per unit is being provided to the farmers eliminating peak time charges which were higher, so that their input costs are protected. The PML (N) government, by affecting a uniform tariff of Rs.10.35 per unit for agricultural tube wells, has ensured a reliability of input to the farmers.

The federal and provincial governments are procuring wheat from the farmers to ensure that not only they get correct price of their produce but also have sufficient stocks for the government for supplying to flour mills so that they can intervene to maintain a stable price of flour in the country.?

The Prime Minister said the present government was also working with full zeal to complete major infrastructure projects to achieve the goal of a better Pakistan, by enhancing employment, generating economic activity and reducing poverty.