LAHORE This wheat harvesting season is causing huge losses to farmers as neither they are getting the governments fixed price for their crop nor provision of bardana is easy for them, while they are worried about securing their crops and getting paid. This issue has been further complicated because the Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) has decided to delay wheat procurement till April 30, because of the recent rains, which has caused moisture to the crop. Now the Corporation will start distributing gunny bags among the farmers from April 27. Arrangements are said to have been finalised for procuring 1.3 million tons of wheat, which is far less than the produce. It has been also claimed that 65 per cent of the gunny bags had been provided at purchase centres while the supply of rest was in the process. However, much to the dismay of farmers only in 15 tehsils of the Punjab certainly not a positive figure the Corporation had set up about 200 centres for procurement, where wheat producers would be paid Rs 950 per maund and Rs 7 per bag as delivery charges. In pursuance of the Centre, the Punjab government had also fixed the price at Rs 950 per mound, but now the situation is no one is buying the crop at this price, and because of delay, primarily caused by rains, the farmers have been made to sell off their produce at even Rs 800 per maund because they have to start preparing the soil for sowing cotton. Consequently, the growers are being exploited by the middlemen against whom the Punjab government has been repeatedly asserting that they would not be allowed to manipulate the farmers, but it is openly happening at all the grain markets across the province. This is primarily due to the reason that when the government is not there to help the farmers, then the latter automatically fall in the trap of the middlemen, observed a senior officer of the Food Department, who further mentioned that for this years bumper crop, giving eight bags to farmers, was far less than the required number. Certainly, farmers are worried as the grain is and will be lying in open fields giving sleepless nights to farmers, who had toiled hard for half a year, he added. Moreover, even getting these bags has become very difficult since cumbersome process is involved in it. Again Patwaris (for verification), Food Departments officials and banks are involved in it, while the farmers have to go to everyone for getting the bags.