Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced that 376 wheat procurement centers will be set up across the province.

“Maximum facilities will be provided to the farmers at these centers,” the CM said while chairing a meeting regarding Wheat Procurement Campaign 2016-17 yesterday.

Like previous years, interest of cultivators would be protected this year as well, he added.

The meeting reviewed in detail the arrangements made for providing maximum facilities to the farmers at wheat procurement centers.

Shehbaz said: “Due returns will be ensured to the farmers and no one will be allowed to exploit them. There is a bumper wheat crop this year and protection of interests of farmers will be ensured at every cost.”

He directed that arrangements should be made to facilitate the cultivators at procurement centers. Like previous years, the process of distribution of gunny bags among the famers would be fully transparent this year as well, he added.

Shehbaz Sharif said that all necessary measures would be taken for stability of wheat prices and to ensure that cultivators were not affected by low wheat prices and recession in international market.

The CM also warned that middleman will not be allowed to exploit cultivators in the procurement of wheat and middleman will not be able to participate in the process of wheat procurement.

Shehbaz also informed that complaint cells will be set up at provincial, divisional and district levels. Any complaint in the procurement of wheat will immediately be addressed, he assured.

“An effective monitoring system has also been introduced with the help of information technology for ensuring transparency in wheat procurement process,” said Shehbaz, adding that wheat will be procured from small cultivators on priority basis and he will personally supervise wheat procurement campaign.

“Agriculture is the backbone of national economy and a comprehensive strategy will be implemented for development of this sector. The Punjab government has given a historic package of 100 billion rupees for the next two years for the prosperity of farmers and uplift of agriculture sector and its implementation will leave a positive impact on agriculture.”

Provincial Minister for Food and Secretary Food gave a briefing on the arrangements for wheat procurement campaign. Federal Minister National Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah, Bilal Yasin, Atta Manika, Nadeem Kamran, Farrukh Javed, Iqbal Channar, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, Members National and Provincial Assembly, Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police, MD PASSCO, concerned secretaries and senior officials attended the meeting.