LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) central Punjab president Manzoor Amed Wattoo on Saturday demanded that the government ensure procurement of surplus wheat from farmers. “The government must not be content with purchasing four million tonnes as announced earlier. The procurement drive should be transparent,” he said. Wattoo said that considering a bumper crop expected this year, farmers would likely offer more than four million tonnes of wheat. “The procurement target set by the government will inevitably leave the growers at the mercy of the middle man,” he said. Wattoo said growers of rice, sugarcane, maze, wheat and potatoes had been suffering losses due to anti-farmers policies over the last two years. He said responsible governments provided subsidies to farmers to protect their economic interest. He regretted that the government had failed on this count and backed out of its promise of compensating rice growers. He said agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy contributing 25 per cent of the GDP. He said livelihood of two-thirds of the country’s population depended on the sector. He said Pakistan’s dream of becoming a prosperous state would never materialise until farmers in the country were facilitated.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2015.
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