ISLAMABAD   -  The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Thursday has approved the “PM’s Package for Rabi Crops-Specially Wheat”.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the special meeting of the ECC to approve the “PM’s Package for Rabi Crops-Specially Wheat”. In order to give the incentives to the farmers for the upcoming Rabi season, the federal cabinet, in its meeting held on 27-10-2020, constituted a special committee to design the package to reduce the input cost for the farmers with the special intent to increase the production of wheat in the country.

According to the package, Rs.1000 per 50kg bag will be given as subsidy on fertilizers; DAP etc. The federal and provincial government will share the subsidy in 70% and 30% ratio. On weedicides @ Rs. 250 per acre and on fungicides @ Rs.150 will be given by the federal government as subsidy. The provinces will distribute the subsidy in their already prevalent manner but will be responsible for ensuring transparency. 

The federal funds for the subsidy will be directly disbursed to the provinces by the Finance Division on the basis of their share, keeping in view their system strength and overall outreach.  

The Ministry of National Food Security would examine the provinces’ demand for funds and after its recommendation Finance Division shall transfer the funds to the provinces. It was also decided that the provinces will expand, improve and up-grade their subsidy disbursement systems. The package will be presented in the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday for approval by the Federal Cabinet.

Earlier, on Monday, the ECC had decided to propose to the federal cabinet to fix the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat crop 2020-2021 at Rs1600 per 40 kg. It was briefed to the ECC that the support price mechanism plays a pivotal role in boosting wheat production as it stabilizes market and increases profitability of the farmers. 

The ECC had formed a sub-committee to thoroughly evaluate the proposal for an increase in the MSP of wheat for 2020-21 crop after ministers with political and economic backgrounds disagreed over Rs1,745 per 40kg support price proposed by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFSR). 

The sub-committee had proposed to fix Rs1,600 per 40kg as MSP for the coming crop. Simultaneously, the sub-committee also decided to extend about Rs1,000 per 50kg subsidy on DAP fertiliser in the upcoming crop for farmers to ensure lower input cost and thereby keeping the MSP on the lower side.