December 5, 2022

Strengthening the agricultural sector – Pakistan Today

Sustainable growth of the agricultural sector is vital to ensuring the country’s food security and rural development. It is a major contributor to employment and foreign exchange earnings. In addition, it also provides industrial raw materials, hence the growth of this sector obviously has multiple links with the global economy.

It contributes 22.7% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides jobs for around 37.4% of the country’s working population, is the manager of the rural landscape and the environmental shield in the protection and modernization of the production and ecosystem resilient to climate change.

The improvement of agricultural production systems will certainly and surely contribute to increasing agricultural incomes, reducing consumer prices and improving the diversified food supply in addition to generating an exportable surplus. During the post-covid-19 period, the sharp rise in the prices of various commodities has obviously further reinforced the importance of this sector, in particular for net food-importing countries.

The recent unprecedented flash floods caused by the heaviest rains in history have not only massively damaged and destroyed roads, infrastructure, bridges and affected over 33 million people, but have completely washed away standing crops. over four million acres in different parts of the country.

In view of this massive devastation and aware that the country’s progress, development and prosperity were directly linked to Pakistan’s agricultural sector, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the other day a massive package of incentives and initiatives, amounting to as much as Rs 1800 billion in the current financial year, which was quite sizable, four times more than what the farming community was receiving in the previous year, when it s was addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with federal ministers and members of his coalition government’s economic team.

The agricultural community package indeed bodes well for strengthening and revitalizing the country’s important agricultural sector. The federal government, through the Prime Minister, has done its duty in this regard. It is now up to all downstream to ensure proper implementation and farmers to take full advantage of the facilities and incentives thus offered and get the cropping pattern in order at the earliest.

Highlighting the main features of the much-needed package for farmers, the Prime Minister reportedly said that commercial banks avoid providing loans to small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs and instead seek safe investments, the mark-up on loans by the farmers belonging to the areas affected by the floods were removed, the center and the provinces would also provide more than eight billion rupees to small farmers in the flood affected areas, in addition, the government would also provide loans worth 50 billion rupees to the young people living in rural areas with a lower margin than the market rate and Rs 6.5 billion had been allocated for this purpose; Following tough negotiations between the federal government and the fertilizer factories, the price of DAP per bag was reduced by more than 2,500 and it would now be available at Rs 11,250 instead of Rs 14,000.

In addition, it should also be noted that the center in collaboration with the provinces will provide up to 1.2 million bags of certified wheat seed free of charge to farmers in flood-ravaged areas and an amount of Rs 13.20 allocated for this purpose. . The federal government is also importing 500,000 tons of urea, of which 200,000 tons have already arrived in the country, in order to boost the country’s important agricultural sector, a high subsidy of Rs 30 billion will be provided to the urea so that the small farmers could get the fertilizer as per their requirement at comparatively cheaper rates, to help those farmers who cannot afford quite high prices of locally made tractors, the government has also decided to import five-year-old used tractors.

There is much more to the package for farmers announced by the Prime Minister in response to requests made from time to time by the farming community. These incentives, it is worth mentioning, include the supply of electricity at a fixed rate of Rs 13 per unit, the supply of gas at a cheaper rate to fertilizer factories, interest-free loans for the transfer of Rs 300,000 solar-powered tubewells, duty on tractor parts reduced to 15% and interest-free loans of Rs 5 billion to landless haris also feature prominently in the Kissan package of Rs 1.8 trillion in loans agricultural.

The Federal Government has in most cases of provision of facilities and incentives as mentioned above ensured that farmers in flood affected areas of the country are targeted to ensure their speedy rehabilitation and normalization agricultural production activities at the earliest, as the Prosperity of farmers means progress and development of Pakistan, which is the urgent need of the hour.

The Prime Minister announced the package of initiatives and incentives for the farming community, fully appreciating the bitter fact that farmers in areas of the country affected by floods and rains have been hit very hard financially and unless they are not helped and aided at the earliest. , they may not be able to grow new crops, which could lead to food insecurity in the country in the coming months.

If the massive kissan package thus announced is implemented in letter and spirit with sincerity, dedication and determination by all concerned and the facilities thus provided are used by farmers mainly in flood-affected areas, then one can easily say that this is going to turn out to be the best it can be and excellent in every way, as none other than the Prime Minister himself has indicated.

It is also worth mentioning here that the representatives of the agricultural community have welcomed and appreciated the packages of incentives and initiatives announced by the Prime Minister, saying that all their demands have been fully met. Farmers across the country had just recently staged a sit-in in Islamabad in support of their demands, their demands and grievances were conveyed by the relevant Federal Ministers to the Prime Minister who assured them that all their demands would be given due consideration with kindness. and appropriate measures announced in due time because the role of the farming community in reviving the national economy and guaranteeing food security can in no way be compromised.

The agricultural community package indeed bodes well for strengthening and revitalizing the country’s important agricultural sector. The federal government, through the Prime Minister, has done its duty in this regard. It is now up to all downstream to ensure proper implementation and farmers to take full advantage of the facilities and incentives thus offered and get the cropping pattern in order at the earliest.