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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to provide relief to the farming community, the government has decided to revise downward the fertilizer price to Rs1,768 per bag from Rs1,917 per bag, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Makhdoom Murtaza Mahmud said this while chairing a meeting of the Fertilizer Review Committee.

Warning the fertilizer industry over unilateral increase of urea prices, he said that the government would not tolerate unjustified price increases of urea, adding that any justified increase in price would be notified by the government later on after consulting with the industry.

The meeting was attended by Federal Secretary for Industries and Production Jawwad Rafique Malik, the representatives of the fertilizer manufacturing industry, dealers, the chief secretary Punjab, and the secretaries of provincial agriculture departments.

The meeting discussed the domestic production and demand of fertilizer as well as prices, subsidy plan and tracking and verification mechanism of fertilizer for Kharif season in the backdrop of the prime minister’s meeting on fertilizer. In a meeting a day earlier, the prime minister approved the various policy measures to ensure the availability of fertilizer at affordable prices to farmers during the Kharif season.

At the onset of the meeting, agricultural departments briefed the forum that there was a 14 percent decline in the DAP off-take in the last sowing season due to price inflation which means crops had received less application of phosphate component of fertilizer affecting crop output badly. The committee was told that there is a dire need to provide balanced nutrients to the soil for excessive grain production.

Considering the price differential between urea and DAP, Mahmud said that the government had decided to make subsidy payments directly to farmers immediately through the Ministry of Food Security and provincial governments so that the DAP prices could be cooled down for farmers and this step would also ensure balance applications of nitrogen and phosphate-based fertilizer in soil by farmers. He said, however, the government would discourage the compulsive purchase of DAP to farmers along with urea by dealers recently.

The meeting observed that non-registered fertilizer dealers would be brought under a verification mechanism and it had been made necessary for dealers to get registered with respective provincial departments to ensure a smooth supply of fertilizer at the district level.

The manufacturers assured the registration of dealers with relevant provincial departments. In order to curb the hoarding and smuggling, the government had decided to set up a task force under the Ministry of Interior consisting of law enforcement agencies, the FBR, and the provincial departments to thwart cross-border trafficking of urea.

The minister said that the government had geared up to implement a vehicle registration, tracking and verification system to smoothen adequate and timely supply of key soil nutrients to farmers during the Kharif season.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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