LAHORE: Punjab Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Langrial says that increasing the minimum support price of wheat has become necessary to keep the country food secure in view of the hike in prices of farm inputs.

“The cost of almost all farm inputs has shot up in the wake of 25 per cent devaluation of rupee against dollar necessitating to revisiting the support price of wheat,” Mr Langrial told Dawn on Friday.

He argues for fixing the minimum support price at Rs1400 per 40kg up by Rs100 from the current rate of Rs1300 per 40kg. “The increase is essential to maintain food security of the country as wheat is the major staple food and the recent devaluation of the rupee against dollar has affected the farming sector because most of the farm inputs are imported.”

The minister says so far they could not convince Prime Minister Imran Khan to enhance the support price as the latter fears it may hit particularly urban consumers.

“But the step is essential to offset the impact of increased cost of production and keep the country food secure.”

Mr Langrial argues that the negative impact of the extra funds needed for procuring wheat at increased rates may be eradicated by reducing the procurement size to two million tons at national level for emergencies.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2019