LAHORE: Welcoming the “Kissan Package” announced by the federal government, representatives of different agricultural organisations have asked the government to make sure that benefits of this package reach the farmers. However, they also stressed the need for focusing on promotion of digital agriculture and innovative agricultural ideas to resolve the issues being faced by the sector.
Co-Founder of Agriculture Republic Aamer Hayat Bhandara while talking to Business Recorder welcomed an increase of Rs 400 million in agricultural loans. However, he said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), last year, had also directed the commercial banks to increase the spread of their agri loans but to no avail. Now the government has to evolve a mechanism to ensure an increase in the limits of agricultural loans. Secondly, he said the government has to double the agricultural loan limit for farmers keeping in view more than double increase in all the agricultural inputs. The government has to simplify the method of agricultural loans which at present is very cumbersome and hard to understand by the common farmers.
He claimed that the DAP prices were already under Rs 12,000 per bag in the market but the government should ensure that subsidy extended under the fresh package should ensure it to come down to Rs 11,200 per bag. He also called for making a local government system in place which can only ensure price stabilization at the local level.
He welcomed the reduction of duty on tractor parts and said import may press the local manufacturers of tractors to bring down the prices of their machines also. He said solarisation of tube well is also a welcoming step by what mechanism would be adopted in this regard.
“Will this subsidy be extended to large farmers or help the small growers?”
Concluding his remarks, he said it is good that the government is distributing free wheat seed in flood-hit areas but at the same time he was of the view that we have to hurry for sowing of wheat. If we could not complete it in November, then as the forecast is being done of severe winter this year, it may hamper the germination and growth of wheat thus leading to less productivity, Aamer Hayat concluded.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Hi-tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik said the package unveiled by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is poised to boost agriculture production.
He said the recent devastating flood damaged sizeable standing crops besides killing millions of livestock and depriving farmers of their livelihood in addition to a record displacement of 33 million. He said the package will not only increase agriculture production but will also definitely help a lot to flood affectees for their rehabilitation and cultivation of new crops on time to meet the ever-increasing needs of food staples. He said the agriculture sector is the backbone of our national economy which has now been accorded top priority by the coalition government.
He said it’s a good omen that interest-free production loans are being extended at the doorsteps of poor farmers, especially in flood-affected arable areas.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022