LAHORE:Increasing prices of phosphatic fertilizers owing to global surge in its prices and depreciation of Pakistani rupees against dollar will substantively impact on the crops productivity.The use...
LAHORE:Increasing prices of phosphatic fertilizers owing to global surge in its prices and depreciation of Pakistani rupees against dollar will substantively impact on the crops productivity.
The use of phosphatic fertilizer is already down significantly as the prices of different variants are increased to Rs15,000 per bag from last year Rs6,000 per bag. Further, the importers are also facing difficulties in import due to restrain on Forex. Failure of government to subsidise the costly fertilizers has also contributed to the decline in balance use of fertilizers. The data shows that phosphatic fertilizers intake has already registered a 23 percent decline in first six months of 2022 from the corresponding period of 2021. The intake during the first two quarters is 621,000 tons in 2022 which was 802,000 during the same duration of 2021.
Director Agriculture Extension Punjab Dr Anjum Ali also anticipating reduce intake of phosphatic fertilizers mainly due to increasing prices. However, he believed that its impact on Kharif crops would less as compared to the Rabi crops as it was already witnessed in last season reduced wheat production. “There is need to take some urgent steps by reducing input cost for balanced fertilizer intake in order to enhance crops productivity”, Dr Anjum believed. Recently, finance minister was heard talking about direct subsidy to farmers. The mechanism not being in place, it may lead to drastic impact on the crops.
To ensure that the desired benefit is passed on to small farmers, a direct targeted subsidy mechanism has been under consideration for the last two years. To ensure that the desired benefit is passed on to small farmers, a voucher-based SMS enabled direct subsidy mechanism was introduced by the Punjab government considering high prices of Phosphatic fertilizers. Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) Executive Director Brig Sher Shah Malik said that despite best efforts, the government has not yet been able to pass on this subsidy benefit on expensive phosphatic fertilizers to farmers across the country. In Sindh, KP and Balochistan, this subsidy is altogether not being offered to farmers while Punjab has always faced shortage of funds due to which even issued coupons could not be encashed by the farmers.
"Resultantly, in last Rabi season lack of disbursement of subsidy on phosphatic fertilizers led to less consumption of DAP in wheat that became one of the reasons ultimately impacting its yield and now the government would be required to import over three million metric ton wheat to meet local requirements by sending precious forex”, he observed. The inability of above subsidy scheme to provide the desired results, any proposal to provide direct targeted subsidy to farmers that too in the absence of availability of exact land records and accurate profiles of farmers, cannot be implemented in its true spirit.
The FMPAC in a letter to the Federal Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail stated that fertilizer industry has always supported the government for economic growth of the country by providing fertilizers to local farmers at affordable prices. “We understand attempt to implement direct targeted subsidy mechanism would require consideration of factors such as availability of land records, accurate profiles of actual farmers, complexity of small farmers using landholding of big landlords on lease basis etc.
While protecting food of the country and avoiding any risks of fiscal and trade deficits, fertilizer industry would be happy to partner with government to formulate a workable direct subsidy scheme”, the FMPAC stated that the government would need to take account of above security factors besides consultation with all other stakeholders to address the known challenges and role of the provinces in implementation of the scheme besides engagement with the farmers if feasible for the desired well-being of the farming community.