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Friday December 03, 2021

Farmers slam govt for low allocation for agriculture sector

June 16, 2020

LAHORE: The farming community has expressed disappointment over what they call lower allocation of funds for the development of the agriculture sector which is backbone of the national economy.

The Punjab budget for agriculture and allied sectors has been disheartening, making farmers of the province disappointed, said Khalid Mahmood Khokhar, president of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI). He said it is regrettable that Punjab decreased allocation for agriculture to Rs 8.5 billion from the previous year’s Rs 15.5 billion. Every government always raises the slogan that agriculture is the mainstay of the Pakistan economy, but unfortunately their acts negate it.

He said agriculture is the most subsidized sector in the world for food security. It seems the PTI govt has no interest in the betterment of poor farmer, agriculture and economy. Instead, the provincial government is negatively impacting livelihood of rural population by destroying the agriculture sector. Pakistan is importing edible oil, pulses and now wheat worth billions of dollars. If these policies continue, Pakistan will import every eatable item in future.

“We have become a consumer market of the world. We farmers tried our level best to draw the government’s attention again and again for many years but to no avail, he lamented. For Allah’s sake, he said, the decision makers and real power corridors should give attention to burning issues of agriculture sector before it is too late.

Ibrahim Mughal, president of Agri-Forum Pakistan, said it is a grave concern that farmers are facing an extremely uphill task amid challenges of locust attack, climate change and pandemic of Covid-19 without any tangible support of the government.

The provincial government should give top priority to agriculture sector if it really wants to ensure food security for the whole nation. The one after other challenges have played havoc with the productivity of farming sector. In these testing times, he observed, the government should come forward and facilitate farmers by providing them with subsidy on various inputs.

Instead of adopting a pro-farmer approach, he regretted, the government has reduced subsidy programme for the growers, leaving them in the lurch.

Ejaz Rao, a progressive farmer, expressed concern over dwindling production of cotton for the third year successively. The output of cotton in 2020-21 will be even lesser if compared with the previous year, he said and added such low production was expected despite the fact that the prime minister himself is looking after the affairs of the cotton sector.

Rao asked the rulers to only concentrate on provision of quality seeds for farmers and there would be a considerable increase in production of the silver fiber in the country. He said this year’s seed quality was particularly pathetic, especially the germination rate was poor. In this depression scenario, he maintained, there was a need to give some relief to farmers, but it could not happen unfortunately.