LAHORE       -      Punjab Minister for Trade & Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal has said the government has increased support prices of wheat and sugarcane to safeguard farmers’ interests. The new support prices of wheat and sugarcane will be Rs1365 per maund and Rs190 per maund, respectively. The farmers will get benefit of more than Rs40 billion due to this increase.

Addressing a press conference at DGPR on Friday, Mian Aslam Iqbal said that support price of wheat and sugarcane was not increased for the last five years.

Flanked by Agriculture Minister Nauman Akhtar Langrial and Food Minister Sami Ullah Chaudhry, he said the government has decided to increase the support price keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the farmers due to increase in input costs. He pointed out that provision of financial reward of sugarcane farmers’ hard work has been ensured and no one would be allowed to exploit them. Last year, sugarcane crop worth Rs138 billion was procured from the farmers and an amount of Rs137.40 billion was given to them as payment. He said that farmers would get benefit of Rs29 billion due to Rs10 increase in sugarcane support price. Proper reward of farmers’ hard work will be ensured this year as well. He announced that soft loans will also be provided to the farmers having less than 12.5 acres land. He said that a vigorous campaign has been launched against hoarding and illegal profiteering. As a result, prices of essential items have been stabilized. The 20 kg flour bag is available at Rs808 while the rate of sugar is Rs70. Ghee of different brands is available from Rs140 to Rs180 per kg, he added.

To a question, he said that Pakistan has wriggled out of the difficult economic situation adding that the country has been saved from being declared as bankrupt under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He regretted that past rulers ruined the economy and pointed out that Maryam Nawaz erroneously tweeted about this sagging economic situation by considering it as a report about the present tenure of PTI government. He said the farmers are provided an opportunity of directly selling their agri produce at 32 model bazaars in the whole of province adding that work has been started to expand this paraphernalia to the level of tehsils. Autonomous price control authority is also being established having representation of experts from agriculture and economic sectors. To a question, he said that powers of the chief minister have been given to provincial ministers who are deputed to implement vision and policy while the relevant departments ensure implementation.

Sami Ullah Chaudhry said that 85 percent farmers have less than 12.5 acres land in Punjab adding that interest of small farmers is being protected by the government.

Nauman Akhtar Langrial said that 42 percent farmers belong to Punjab who fulfill food needs of 58 percent non-farmers. 4.32 lakh bags of certified seeds have been distributed among the farmers and farmer-friendly policies are being introduced as well, the minister concluded.