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ISLAMABAD: Farmers have requested the government to introduce high-yield hybrid seeds of maize and sunflower, and increase the output of wheat and pulses through fiscal benefits to growers that will help in reducing its huge annual importing bill

Addressing a press conference here on Friday at the National Press Club (NPC), experts shared their comments on the measures introduced for the farmers’ community during the federal budget (2022-23).

An expert, Khan Faraz, said Pakistan was an agricultural country and agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy. The sector is considered the mainstay of the economy and provides livelihood for almost two out of five Pakistanis.

While expressing comments of the Federal Budget for 2022-23, the farmers’ organisations have expressed dismay that on the one hand, the government was rightly distressed over rising inflation, but on the other hand, it fell short of addressing the root cause of this alarming trend, which was a continuous downward trend in farm productivity.

They also have called for reducing the input cost of farmers that was increasing particularly, due to the upsurge in power tariff and an increase in the rate of fuel.

The steps like a three-year growth strategy that has been devolved with the collaboration of the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Food Security for increasing farm productivity, making farmers prosper, meeting challenges of climate change, promotion of smart agriculture, attaining self-sufficiency, value-addition and agro-processing failed to impress the farming community.

Also, the cost of inputs of farmers had increased many times, but the government had not announced any tangible steps for reducing it in the Federal Budget, he maintained.

Amid unprecedented water shortage, the electricity tariff multiplied along with spiralling petrol and diesel prices, making agriculture one of the costlier affairs. Also, the real benefits of withdrawal of sales tax on seeds of wheat, maize, rice, canola and sunflower, tractors and agriculture implements have never reached farmers. Availability of urea fertilizer at reasonable rates has also failed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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