Farmers Protest, Government Response Sparks Concern

farmers protest, government response sparks concern

Many farmers were pushed and arrested by police in different parts of the province on Monday, especially in Lahore and south Punjab. The farmers took to the streets because they felt like no one was listening to their requests for help. Wheat prices have fallen a lot in the market, way below the set price of Rs3,900 per 40kg. Recent rains have made things even worse for the farmers.

Despite all this, the government doesn’t seem to be taking the problem seriously. Their spokesperson said the protests were only happening for political reasons. This isn’t how governments should treat the people who grow food for everyone in the country. The ruling PML-N might face big consequences for ignoring the farmers, especially the small ones. These small farmers have already said they’ll block highways with the opposition’s help.

The provincial administration has reasons for making the process of buying wheat more organized by using digital methods. They’ve also reduced the amount of wheat they plan to buy this harvest and delayed buying wheat officially for a long time.

Most people agree that the government’s policy of getting too involved in the wheat market by setting a minimum price and buying a lot of wheat from farmers every year has caused more harm than good. They say it only benefits middlemen and flour millers, especially those who only operate for a few months using subsidized wheat from the government.

However, suddenly stopping the government’s involvement in the wheat market could hurt farmers even more. This is because wheat prices are already falling due to a big harvest and unexpected rains. Instead, the government should slowly step back from buying wheat and find a better way to support farmers over the next few years.

Many people think that the previous government’s decision to import over 3.2Mt of grain when the harvest was near caused the current problem of low official purchase targets. This is mostly true.

If the Punjab government didn’t have over 2Mt of wheat in stock, they might have been able to buy more wheat this harvest without causing any trouble. Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal also blames unnecessary wheat imports for the unstable market now. So, the authorities need to look into why this decision was made and hold someone accountable for it.