PESHAWAR  – The Khyber Pakthunkhwa farmers and growers Sunday demanded an increase in wheat prices up to Rs.1,500 per 40 kilogram, which would help enhance per acre production and will bolster their income imperative to achieve autarky in food.

Misal Khan, a farmer of Nowshera district told APP that increase in wheat price up-to Rs 1500 per 40 Kilogram would certainly help encourage farmers towards wheat sowing in large scale and will discourage trend of converting towards vegetable cultivation.

The cost of agriculture inputs and general increase in prices of fuel, fertilizer, seed, labour cost and other basic items have made wheat sowing uneconomical and unaffordable at the current price fixed by the govt, he remarked. ‘If we produce one million tons less wheat it amounts to Rs 24 billion losses to the national kitty and nation,” he informed. Khan said it was the responsibility of the provincial government to fix wheat rates in wake of devolution process.

He urged the Government of Khyber Pakthunkhwa to increase wheat price up to Rs 1500 per 40 kilogram to help farmers on economic fronts. Khan demanded of the govt to either give subsidy to farmers on wheat production or increase its price.

The wheat threshing process has completed in southern districts including Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Lakki Marwat and Bannu and continued in the central zone of Peshawar, Charsadda, Swabi and Mardan with fast pace.

He said wheat harvesting/threshing was usually completed by the second week of May in Central Zone but this year the cold weather and intermittent rain have delayed it might due to climatic change. The threshing process will complete in Nowshera, Peshawar, Swabi and Mardan districts now next month.

Khan said the old tradition of Ashar campaigns in which farmers with the help of each others’ harvest and thresh wheat crops has almost gone and mostly farmers in Khyber Pakthunkhwa now get their crop harvested/threshed through labourers.

He said labourers and farmers share crop in different ratio and that in most areas of Nowshera, labourers get 1/10th of the produce as remuneration while in others localities they hired on daily wages ranging between Rs350-400 plus meals and stay that added extra burden on farmers. He expressed optimism that the Government would provide maximum relief to farmers in the upcoming budget.