• PM orders crackdown on elements buying cotton below official rate
• Naqvi urges growers to stand firm until market stabilises
ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: The caretaker government has called for strict enforcement of the cotton support prices set earlier this year, with Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Sunday ordering action against those exploiting the situation and buying cotton below the predetermined rate of Rs8,500 per 40kg.
Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, who met PM Kakar to discuss the issue, also separately urged cotton farmers to resist selling their crops below the intervention price. He noted that cotton prices in the province had plummeted way beyond the official support price.
Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif fixed the present support price in March this year.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office said Mr Kakar took notice of cotton purchases below the support price and directed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to take cognisance of the issue and file a report in this regard.
The PM said this year’s bumper cotton crop was a blessing for the country, and the farmers should reap its maximum benefit. The government had clear instructions over its purchase price so that the farmers could be protected against any losses, he added.
He also held a meeting with Punjab and Sindh chief ministers on Sunday and directed them to take action against those deceiving cotton growers. During the meeting held at PM Office, they discussed matters related to the province.
While pointing out that the federal government had been requested to immediately direct the TCP to start buying cotton from the market to help stabilise its prices, CM Naqvi asked cotton growers not to sell their crop below the officially announced intervention price.
Mr Naqvi said he and caretaker CM of Sindh Maqbool Baqir in a meeting PM Kakar told him that cotton price in Punjab had come down to Rs6,500 per 40kg against the official rate of Rs8,500 promised by the federal government at the start of sowing season.
“The PM has taken prompt notice and sought a report from the Trading Corporation of Pakistan. It is greatly hoped that the TCP will start purchasing cotton,” he said, insisting that cotton rates would rise and the farmers would be rewarded for their labour.
Mr Naqvi requested farmers not to sell their cotton at lower prices, as both Punjab and Sindh governments were trying to ensure that growers get the promised rate of Rs8,500 per 40kg.
He said growers should hold back their produce and not let cotton prices go down. “The government is standing with them and will continue to support them,” he said.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2023