Islamabad - Government’s wheat procurement drive is in full swing but the small farmers are compelled to sell their crop at lesser price due to unavailability of gunny bags.
Farmers alleged that the gunny bags are being issued on political recommendations and the small farmers are not accommodated at wheat purchase centers.
The influential get bardana and the small farmers keep on waiting, said Rao Afsar, official of farmers association. Government wheat purchase centers issue gunny bags (Bardana) in which wheat is filled and brought back at centres.
Government announced more than 380 wheat procurement centres in Punjab while 468 procurement centres in Sindh to purchase wheat from farmers directly at a support price of Rs. 1300.
Punjab’s Chief Minister has paid surprise visit to some of the wheat procurement centres in Punjab, and has taken administrative actions against the staff but the farmers believe more is required to correct the situation.
“Small farmesr cannot afford to hold his crop as he needs money, but the staff at procurement centres do not issue gunny bags without political influence or bribe,” alleged Zulfiqar Khan, another farmer.
He said every year the small farmers suffer and mafia, with political nexus even buy wheat from local market and supply to government centres in connivance with the staff. He said staff issue gunny bags to this mafia under fake names and documents.
Ministry of Food and Security spokesman Jamil Ahmed did not respond to calls on his mobile nor did Asif Bilal Lodhi, Director, Punjab Food Department.