Farmers’ Plight: Bumper Wheat Crop Turns Nightmare in Pakistan

farmers'plight bumper wheat crop turns nightmare in pakistan

This year’s bumper wheat crop in Pakistan is causing distress among farmers as market prices plummet below the government’s set support price. With Punjab contributing over 75% of the total wheat yield, farmers in the province are increasingly frustrated, leading to a nationwide protest scheduled for April 25.

Chairman of Kissan Board Pakistan Central, Sardar Zafar Hussain Khan, expressed farmers’ discontent, stating, “We will not harvest wheat crop next year, if the exploitation of farmers continues, both from middlemen and the government.”

Despite the onset of the wheat harvest season, the government has yet to outline a clear purchasing policy. Consequently, wheat prices have dropped significantly, with middlemen taking advantage of the situation. Khan warned, “we are launching the protest, but if the government did not come up with an immediate solution, then we may convert the protest into a sit-in.”

The government has set the support price for wheat at Rs3,900 per 40 kg this year, but farmers’ representatives claim that purchases by the Punjab food department and Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Corporation are yet to begin. Khalid Khokhar, President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, highlighted the challenges faced by the farming community, stating, “Pakistan’s agriculture is witnessing the history’s toughest time as the farming community is experiencing losses on two fronts.”

According to farmers’ groups, in 2023, farmers incurred significant losses, paying over Rs300 billion – above the retail prices set by the fertilizer industry – due to urea black marketing. Despite farmers’ protests, the government has failed to enforce regulations ensuring urea availability at prescribed retail prices.