ISLAMABAD (APP) - Government has set the highest ever target of 6.5 million tons wheat procurement keeping in mind the upcoming record wheat crop and to ensure that farmers could get their better returns. This was stated by the Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, while chairing the meeting of Committee on Agriculture for implementation of cabinet decisions here Wednesday. "To achieve this target the Ministry has devised a comprehensive plan after taking all stake holders on board and provincial governments would be advised to give PASSCO open access to all wheat growing areas", he added. The Minister said that it is because of increasing minimum guaranteed price of wheat to 950 per 40 kg and its timely announcement that we are expecting a record wheat crop of 25m tons this year. The minister said that policies of present government are aiming at protecting the interests of small farmers and poor consumers. He added that agriculture could become the engine of our economic growth and the decision of increasing the amount of loan from Rs.200 billion to Rs.250b for the sector. Benazir Tractor Scheme, Benazir Agriculture Card Scheme and increasing the share of agricultural developmental projects in PSDP from Rs.15.5 billion to Rs.20 billion are milestones in our way to changing agriculture sector into the most dynamic area of our economy. The committee briefed on the situation of major cash crops of wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane and the steps Ministry Food and Agriculture and other concerned authorities are taking to ensure food security in the country and to turn agriculture sector into a profitable and competitive one. The committee decided to devise a mechanism to ensure that the consumers get flour at reasonable rate. The committee decided to take measures to encourage the private sector to procure wheat through easy access to loans and SBP would be suggested to formulate a policy in this regard. The Committee observed that any kind of ban either inter-district or inter-provincial would harm the interest of growers as well as that of poor consumers and food-deficient provinces. It is desired that no such policy should be followed in future so that consumers from all over the country could get wheat and flour at same prices and with continuous supply. It was also decided to formulate a sub-committee on rice to thrash out the issues related to the rice crop having representation of provincial governments and other stake holders.