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LAHORE: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman Muhamamd Nadeem Qureshi has demanded the government should ensure opening of Letters of Credit (LCs) of agricultural inputs to make the country’s food secure.

The SBP has directed banks to prioritize imports of inputs for agriculture and others. The banks show reluctance in opening letters of credit for the import of necessities like agricultural inputs.

FPCCI requests the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Federal Finance Minister and the State Bank of Pakistan to take immediate notice and issue instructions to commercial banks to open LCs for agricultural inputs.

Nadeem Qureshi further said that the government should direct the State Bank of Pakistan to make arrangements for the opening of the LCs for the import of raw materials of pesticides and seed to ensure the food security of the country and prevent inflation likely to be caused due to shortage of wheat, rice, maize, fruits and vegetables, as a result of decline in their yield because of unavailability of agricultural inputs, especially seed and pesticides.

Nadeem apprised that any delay in the import of pesticides would affect the future crops in terms of pest management. Such delay, he says, will especially hit cotton. Other crops that will suffer because of the non-availability of appropriate insecticides include rice, maize and sunflower etc, which are vital for national food security and earning foreign exchange through exports, he added.

Regarding the seed variety, Muhammad Nadeem Qureshi said that for the past several years, the private sector has been doing research and development work on the seed and they also have international standard labs, but no protection is being provided for it. The government should protect it under public-private partnership.

He further said that LCs not being opened for the agricultural raw materials being borrowed which have to be paid for after 6 months.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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