LAHORE: Agricultural scientists have declared 2011 as a black year for farmers as withdrawal of subsidy on inputs and imposition of general sales tax on electricity, inputs and implements have left harmful effects on the agricultural sector and made it difficult for the growers to continue cultivating different crops. “Negligence of the previous governments in the agricultural sector is not a secret, but the harmful steps taken by the current government forced us to declare 2011 as a black year,” said Pakistan Agricultural Scientists Association Chairman Jamshed Iqbal Cheema.
Talking to the media here on Thursday, Cheema said these factors hit the growers hard as not only did input cost increase by 35 per cent but prices of some major crops such as cotton, rice and sugarcane dropped 25 per cent. “Generally, 2011 was a year of loss for the farming community,” he remarked.
Elaborating, he said consumption of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) dropped 30 per cent following the imposition of GST on the fertiliser sector. In addition to this, consumption of urea and pesticides also fell.
Cheema alleged that heavy borrowing by the government left little for the agricultural sector to borrow and said the sector should have a fair share in bank borrowing.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2012.
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