LAHORE-Punjab Chief Minister, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the agriculture has central importance in the national economy, therefore Punjab government is paying full attention for the development of this sector. He directed that early provision of urea fertilizer be ensured to the farmers so as to mitigate the problems as well as achieve the target of wheat production. He said that Punjab government has taken strict notice of increase in the prices of tractors while federal government should also take immediate measures for checking this hike. This was stated by him during a meeting with Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo here on Saturday in which supply position of fertilizer to the farmers was reviewed in detail. Federal Secretary for Industries & Production, Federal Additional Secretary Industries, Managing Director Utility Stores, Chairman NFC, Managing Director National Fertilizer Marketing Ltd., Provincial Secretary Commerce & Investment and Agriculture were also present on the occasion. The Chief Minister said that availability of fertilizer to the cultivators is of key importance for increasing wheat production and the Punjab government has also taken measures for controlling black marketing of urea in the province. He said that the committee set up at federal level to monitor supply situation of fertilizer to farmers should meet after every two days instead of twice a week so that hurdles in the supply of fertilizer to the growers could immediately be removed. He said that Punjab government would extend all out cooperation to federal government in the supply of fertilizer to the farmers. He said that suspension of supply of sui gas to two local fertilizer production plants would leave a negative impact therefore Federal Government should ensure smooth supply of gas to these factories. He said that provincial government in addition to supply of 10,000 tractors to small farmers at subsidised rates has also provided agriculture implements on concessionary rates to the cultivators. He said that increase in prices of tractors is unjustified in view of the reduction in the prices of steel and oil and Punjab government is taking strict notice of this matter. He asked Federal Minister to also take immediate notice of increase in tractor prices in the interest of farming community. He said that the measures taken by the federal government for the uninterrupted supply of fertilizer to farmers would yield positive results and help in resolving the problem of urea fertilizer. Earlier, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo informed the Chief Minister that present government has adopted an effective mechanism for controlling the shortage of fertilizer and has decided to import fertilizer from abroad while steps have also been taken for checking the black marketing of locally produced fertilizer. He said that the imported fertilizer would reach Gawadar Port from where it will be shifted to warehouses through national fertilizer corporation. He said that Federal Government also decided to purchase 50% production of local fertilizer companies while the remaining production will be sold by the factories through their dealers. He said that effective measures are also being adopted for checking black marketing of fertilizers. He said that despite being agriculture country, wheat is being imported from abroad and so far wheat worth more than Rs.100 billion has been imported, therefore, he added there is a dire need to ensure timely supply of fertilizer to the cultivators for increasing wheat production as well as saving foreign exchange. He said that government is also considering a proposal to purchase wheat directly from the farmers from their fields.