ISLAMABAD-The National Assembly Standing Committee on National Food Security & Research yesterday directed the government to announce the support price of wheat within a month to encourage its growers.

The Standing Committee on National Food Security & Research met with Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan, chairman of the committee, in the chair. It expressed concern that growers could not benefit from the subsidy of present government for fertilizers and directed that Ministry may take stringent measures to bring its benefits to small growers.

The Committee unanimously recommended that “The Chamber of Agriculture Bill, 2019” (Private Member Bill) may be passed.

The Committee directed that Ministry may announce the support price of wheat before the end of the October to encourage its growers and to avoid unnecessary delays in sowing of cotton. The Committee further directed that Ministry may ensure the availability of quality hybrid seeds of cotton in the markets to enhance its per acre production.  

The Committee deemed that agriculture sector is the backbone of the country but unfortunately the successive governments failed to pay due attention to it consequently the condition of growers deteriorated over the period of time due to mismanagement and lack of coordination of the federal & provincial governments. The Committee urged upon the need for introduction of substantial measures for promotion of agriculture sector so that growers could get proper reward of their hardship.

Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Syed Fakhar Imam briefed the committee about the current wheat and cotton position in the country. 

He said that the major factor for our low output of crops is the outdated seed technology. The federal minister informed the committee that climate change has done a lot of damage to our agriculture production this year. He said that Punjab and Sindh were the most affected provinces of these recent rains and which was also a reason that we could not meet out set production targets in some crops.

The minister said that cotton is one of our very major crops and it can very much contribute to our national economy. The major problems for not meeting up the cotton production targets are seed quality & white fly attacks. The subsidy on white fly pestisides has started. Syed Fakhar Imam informed the committee that this year we were short of 1.5 MT of wheat target for which we have allowed private entities to import wheat. “430000 tons of the imported wheat has arrived and rest will also reach Pakistan soon,” he added. He said that we are in constant contact with the provinces to fix the minimum support price of wheat.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Shaukat Ali, Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi, Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, Mian Muhammad Shafiq, Chaudhary Muhammad Ashraf, Sardar Riaz Mehmood Khan Mazari, Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Ahmed Raza Maneka, Ms. Shahnaz Saleem Malik, Syed Javed Ali Shah Jilani,Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Sherazi, Kamal uddin and officials of M/o National Food Security and Research.