New support price pushing wheat farmers to prefer other crops.

LAHORE -- The government announced the minimum wheat support price 6.5pc or Rs135 per 40kg less than the recommendations made by the agriculture department and the 'low' rate is making many farmers turn to other Rabi crops for a better returns.

The federal government on Friday had announced the minimum support price of grain at Rs1,950 per 40kg, an increase of Rs150 from the previous year's rate of Rs1,800.

However, the Punjab Agriculture Department's Crop Reporting Service (CRS) had recommended that Rs2,085 per 40kg price, keeping in view of the rising cost of production. It had calculated the wheat production cost for the 2021-22 season at Rs50,283 per acre. Last year, the per acre production cost was Rs43,743 and the CRS had recommended Rs1,800 per 40kg as the minimum support price (MSP) and the same had been adopted by the Punjab government. However, the Sindh government had announced the MSP as Rs2,000 per 40kg.

Wheat had been selling in the open market at around Rs2,200 per 40kg throughout the year.

The farmers, who had been expecting that the MSP this year would at least match the open market price of the previous season, are dejected at the official rate announced two days ago and many of them are thinking of switching over to some other crop.

Aamer Hayat Bhandara, a progressive farmer from Pakpattan, says that other than just the input cost, per acre land...

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