‘Tractor industry in roll back mode’

LAHORE: Concern on the severe downturn in the tractor industry was raised in a meeting between a delegation of leading tractor part manufacturing industries and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday.

The delegation was headed by former LCCI executive committee member Mumshad Ali. LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said a large SME membership base of LCCI has raised serious concerns at the apathy of the provincial and federal governments with regards to the tractor industry crisis.

He said that going into details of the issue elaborated that agriculture is the very foundation of the national economy and the governments of developed and developing countries around the world support the agri sector alike, adding that without government incentives, this strategic sector cannot sustain itself.

Further, he stated the agriculture output is weather dependent and goes through cycles of over and under production, and therefore long-term government support is imperative. He said that in the absence of substantial Zari Taraqiyati Bank Limited (ZTBL) loaning, and no provincial support to the Punjab farmer for procurement of tractors, there is little hope of revival of the tractor industry, which would result in job losses in Lahore region and drop in revenue of the government.

“The tractor industry has tremendous export potential and contributed Rs 40 billion in the national economy last year, besides employing 500,000 skilled workforces,” he said.

Adding that both the federal and Punjab governments must take a holistic view of the problem, and come up with long-term solutions to the issue of erratic and now dwindling tractor demand. Arshad said contrary to Pakistan, in neighbouring India, agriculture sector remains the corner stone of preferential policy of the successive Indian governments.

“Tractor sales trend in India is on a steady growth for the last many years with tractor production, which is 12 times that of Pakistan. On the contrary, tractor sales in Pakistan are a typical boom and bust story depicting policy changes by the government. When horsepower per hectre is compared, Pakistan stands at 1.5 Hp/hctr, whereas in India it is 2.5 Hp/Hctr, resulting in better crop yields,” he added.

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