PBIF praises PM’s relief package for farmers

The Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Friday lauded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for announcing relief package for farmers, terming it as a necessary and timely step to bailout the farming community.The government should ensure that benefits of the move must reach all the intended recipients in a quick and transparent manner, it said.

PBIF President and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said the package should be made more effective by taking all the stakeholders on board, so that the agricultural growth, which was 2.9% last year, could increase and benefit the rural economy.

He said that the growers are facing losses due to slump in the process, resulting in rotten production that should be taken seriously.Zahid Hussain said that the farmers must be educated about the latest trends in order to cut expenses and boost production of important crops. He said that issues like increasing input prices, faulty urea distribution system, influence of middlemen and flooding fake pesticides need urgent attention of the authorities.

The unofficial moneylenders have their say in the rural economy, as the banks continue to ignore farmers despite best efforts by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), he observed.Zahid Hussain said that Rs 20 billion subsidy on urea would bring down the price to Rs 1,991 per bag, however diammonium phosphate (DAP) would be sold at Rs 3,000, which is discouraging.

He said that reversing the gas price hike would be a better option to lure planters to use urea and DAP, adding that lack of coordination between centre and provinces could hurt the package.

The rural economy must be linked to the industry and storage facilities be upgraded so that value addition could assist all the stakeholders, he suggested.

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