LAHORE: Balanced use of fertilizer is a prerequisite to ensure enhanced per acre yield of crops, especially cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, and maize.
Productivity of cotton has already decreased by 65% (i.e., from 14 million bases in 2014 to less than 5 million bales in 2022-23).
To meet domestic industry’s requirement of 15 million bales, country is compelled to spend precious forex of USD 4 billion in 2023-24 to maintain export earnings of around USD 20 billion.
Wheat, a staple food crop is another area facing challenge in meeting domestic consumption of 30 million tons to ensure national food security, said Khalid Mahmood Khokhar President Kissan Ittehad Pakistan (KIP) while talking to Business Recorder here on Monday. According to the economic survey of Pakistan 2022-2023, despite record productivity, country may face shortfall of around 3 million tones to meet ever increasing food demand of around 240 million populations.
Story of rice is not much different; a crop earning around USD 2.5 billion forex for the country, is also suffered lot, production of which is reduced from 9.3 million tons 7.3 million tons in 2022-23, thus reducing forex exchange earnings. Resultantly, combined effects due to less production of wheat & rice have aggravated already growing concern of food inflation in the country, he added.
Balanced Fertilizer use of fertilizers alone increase crops yields by 30-50% in different agro ecological zones of Pakistan. Increase in fertilizer prices will force the farmers not to use balanced quantities of crop nutrients, that can further reduce crop productivity by minimum 5% which means, loss of PKR 260 billion (crop sector contributes PKR 5200 billion) to national GDP.
Pakistan needs to increase production of edible oil crops to save precious forex of around USD 5 billion, same type of challenges are being faced in case of pulses & other food items – combined effect of both these import items is around USD 2 billion.
Summarizing above, increased productivity of cotton, wheat, oilseeds, pulses & other crops can provide import substitute of around USD 13 billion. At the same time, value addition in cotton textile goods and rice exports can earn foreign exchange of around USD 22.5 billion for Pakistan.
To promote balanced use of fertilizer, availability of fertilizers on affordable price can play a pivotal role in enhancing crop yields. It is pertinent to mention that DAP consumption within last 2 years has reduced to 50% i.e., from 2.2 million tons to 1.2 million ton. Imposition of excise duty or sales tax on fertilizers can seriously hamper the cause of national food security; minimum 5% loss in crop productivity can contribute loss of PKR 260 billion to the economy.
In the light of above-mentioned facts, GoP intends to collect revenue of PKR 95 billion through imposition of FED & sales tax on fertilizers, seeds & pesticides, whereas 5% decrease in crop production alone due to lesser use of fertilizers, high quality seeds and pesticides can incur a loss of PKR 260 billion to the national economy. Therefore, it is humbly requested, that in the larger interest of the farming community, imposition of FED/GST on fertilizers, seeds & pesticides may not be considered, he concluded.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023