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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said increased indigenous urea production led to its availability to farmers at a five times cheaper rate compared to the prices in international market.

The government had devised a comprehensive mechanism for distribution of urea fertilizer with the help of district administrations that would ensure its availability to the farmers at controlled rate, he said chairing a high-level meeting on fertilizer-related issues.

The meeting was given a detailed briefing on urea production, its distribution across the country, monitoring mechanism to curb hoarding and smuggling, and the price differential between Pakistan and the international market, including regional countries.

The meeting was attended by federal ministers Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Hammad Azhar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister for State Farrukh Habib, Special Assistant to the PM Dr Shehbaz Gill, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, stakeholders from the fertilizer industry and officials concerned, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

A comprehensive plan was also presented in the meeting, which after implementation would ensure smooth distribution of urea fertilizer at union council level under the monitoring of district administration, agricultural department and revenue department.

The prime minister directed to implement the plan immediately, saying the facilitation of small farmers was among the top most priorities of the government.

Urea shortage, other factors toughen corn productivity target

The meeting was briefed that the Urea production in the three-year tenure of present government surpassed 6.1 million tons, 440,000 bags per day, which prior to 2018 had never crossed 5.5 million tons, 370,000 bags per day. It was achieved due to the government’s policies, including unhindered supply of gas to Urea plants.

In addition to that, due the prime minister’s vision to prioritize food security, a robust system to monitor fertilizer supply and demand with constant monitoring had been put in place that had led to resolution of issues on daily basis.

Except Sindh, with a production of 90% and verification of 23%, all other provinces had been ensuring verification on PITB Portal.

The prime minister said the government was taking strict anti-smuggling and anti-hoarding measures to curb illicit profiteering from Urea distribution across the country.

The government had achieved record production of Urea fertilizer in its three-year tenure, which surpassed 6.1 million tons. Prior to 2018 it never crossed 5.5 million tons, he observed.

The meeting was also given details regarding anti-smuggling operations and number of bags confiscated at the border crossing by authorities.

The meeting was also briefed on other factors responsible for creating hurdles in plugging demand and supply gap in the Urea sector, such as panic buying by farmers, buying by people other than farmers to sell at a premium, increased cultivation by farmers due to increased incomes in the last produce.

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