Provincial development cess rejected

Swabi Kisan Board demands government develop agri sector on modern lines

Swab district agriculture PHOTO: KP-Boit


The Swabi District Kisan Board has rejected the provincial government’s decision to impose an additional Rs50 per kilogram tax on tobacco leaves in the name of the Provincial Development Cess.

Terming it cruelty to farmers, they demanded that the provincial government search for other sources of income instead of ‘robbing’ them.

These views were expressed by Kisan Board District President Khalid Khan while chairing a meeting.

Razar Tehsil Kisan Board President Salman Khan, Swabi Press Secretary Sulaiman Safi, Vice President Swabi Khan Muhammad, General Secretary Swabi Razaullah, Deputy General Secretary Tehsil Lahore Dawood Shah and hundreds of farmers attended the meeting.

Addressing the gathering, Khalid Khan and Razaullah said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) agriculture and farmers were facing innumerable problems and difficulties which the provincial government was not serious about resolving.

They said the non-availability of authentic seeds, counterfeit pesticides, exorbitantly expensive agricultural input materials, a lack of interest by agriculture-related institutions and low prices for produce were major problems in which the farming community was trapped and saw no way out of.

They added that a lack of interest and attention by the government had ruined the economic condition of K-P’s farmers and turned agriculture into a deficit sector due to which growers were leaving agriculture and migrating to cities which was in turn creating new problems in urban areas.

The president said that there was a dire need for the government to conduct effective and viable consultations with farmers to find solutions to these problems. He said that tobacco was the only cash crop of the province and tobacco farmers would not accept a cruel tax like tobacco cess from the provincial government.

He said the government should immediately announce the withdrawal of the cess or else be prepared to face strong resistance from farmers. He said that a high-level delegation of the Kisan Board would meet government officials and opposition leaders and inform them of the disastrous consequences of this tax and force them to withdraw it.

He also demanded that the tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, which had bought tobacco from farmers at a fraudulently low price in the previous season, be brought to justice and the provincial government use its influence to collect the dues of the farmers from these companies so that the farmers’ economic situation can improve.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2024.


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