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Pakistan

Pakistan can turn into agricultural giant, but sector needs attention: Imran Khan

  • PTI chief says global food prices will continue to rise, impacting farmers
Published June 13, 2022

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan stated on Monday that the country has the opportunity and resources to turn into an agricultural giant, but due attention needs to be paid to the sector.

Addressing a gathering in Islamabad, he added that failure to prioritise the sector would trigger food security problems in Pakistan.

“Due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, global food prices, particularly wheat, will rise,” he said. “On the other hand, rise in domestic fuel and energy prices will adversely impact farmers.”

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He stressed that if targeted subsidies were not given to farmers, Pakistan would come in the grip of food insecurity.

Khan recalled that the PTI government made countless efforts to help farmers because “we realised that this sector can enable the country to grow.”

The uplift of Pakistan is linked to the agriculture sector, he said.

Citing the initiatives introduced by his government, the former prime minister said that PM Agricultural Transformation Plan was introduced and subsidies on cotton, oil seeds, DAP, potash and urea were given.

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“We gave subsidies on pesticides and animal breeding and Rs90 billion were earmarked for water conservation,” he said. “Due to this, the production of cotton, rice, sugar cane, potato and chilli soared.”

He regretted that price of urea had risen from Rs1,700-1,800 per bag during PTI’s era to Rs2,800 per bag at present. “This will severely impact agricultural production of Pakistan,” he said.

“We paid attention to the industrial sector as well and the results will become visible after some time,” he said.

The former PM lamented that not a single sector witnessed improvement since the new government took over in April 2022.

This government is not here to facilitate the public, he said.

Last week, Khan expressed concern that fuel prices have been raised by Rs60 while power tariff has also been hiked significantly.

“Overnight, the government increased gas price by a hefty 45%,” he said.

Over the past one month, wheat price rose by 38%, meat by 20%, rice by 41%, chicken by 62%, ghee by 50%, pulses by 21-22%, onion by 30% and eggs by 24%, Khan said.

When diesel petrol and electricity are hiked, rates of all commodities rise and as a result, salaried households suffer. This leads to increase in poverty, he said.

Citing examples, he underlined that Soviet Union also collapsed due to economic downturn.

“In just two months, the current government turned the economy into a mess and placed a huge burden on the public,” he said. “It has dampened our economic future.”

According to him, free and fair elections were the only way to exit this mess. Whole Pakistan is ready for elections, he said.

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