Farmers unhappy over Budget 2024-25

By Munawar Hasan
June 13, 2024
A farmer checks crops damaged following heavy rains. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Farmers organizations have expressed dismay over what they call a complete neglect of the agriculture sector in the FY25 budget.

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Central President of the Kisan Board Pakistan Sardar Zafar Hussain Khan has strongly criticized the current budget, stating that the indifferent attitude of the government poses a significant threat to farmers and the agricultural sector.

He says that out of the total budget of Rs1.8tr, around Rs5 billion have been allocated for agriculture, which is an unjust allocation considering the financial needs of farmers to purchase agricultural commodities.Per him: an increase in taxes in other sectors will also have a detrimental impact on the agricultural sector. Khan emphasizes that ignoring the agricultural sector is a grave injustice to the farming community, which plays an important part in national development.

He has urged the government to prioritize agriculture and take necessary measures to support farmers, as their wellbeing is crucial for the overall development of the country. Additionally, he highlights the negative consequences of not providing subsidies on agricultural inputs and removing tax exemptions on pesticides, making them unaffordable for farmers.

Khan has called for the reconsideration of the government’s priorities and emphasized the importance of including the agricultural sector in their plans for social and economic progress and uplift. He has also criticized the government’s policies of not purchasing wheat from local farmers and resorting to imports, which have adversely affected the farming community.

The KBP chief appeals to parliamentarians to reject the anti-farmer budget and work towards a more favourable outcome for farmers.

Commenting on the budget, Chairperson of the Agri-Forum Pakistan Ibrahim Mughal is of the view that state resources “were badly wasted in the first 100 days of the present government” and that the federal budget would wreak havoc with the agriculture and industry sectors alike. He thinks that “it is an IMF-dictated budget which would adversely affect the national economy. The mindset behind budgetary allocations seems to be in a delusion where they present a rosy picture of national affairs.”The budget lacks determination and conviction about making the economy resilient and would not help in increasing export and decreasing import, according to him.Mughal claimed that wheat farmers have been badly hit due to “anti-farmers steps taken by the government”. In such a scenario, “we don’t think that there would be any betterment in agricultural output. There would be no positive outcome as far as production of key crops as growers have been demoralized by the vision of the rulers.”

President of Kissan Ittehad Khalid Mehmood Khokar is also not satisfied with the budget. He thinks that “the present setup is least bothered about the crucial role being played by the farming community in national development.” He has expressed shock over “the federal budget devoid of any welfare-oriented initiative” despite the fact that one of the best GDP growth in recent decades has been made possible due to an unprecedented increase in the production of several crops.

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