LAHORE: How can a taxed agriculture sector of Pakistan compete with the subsidised Indian Agri economy? This is the question which the farmer community of Pakistan is eagerly asking the Pakistan government amid the possibility of granting Non Discriminatory market Access (NDMA) to India.
“We are not against trade with India, but we have to make our sector first in order to compete with Indian agri market”, said Doctor Tariq Bucha, Farmers Associates of Pakistan president.
India is providing subsidy to its farmers of around $100 billion yearly, and supports around 30 crops, whereas in Pakistan wheat is the only crop which enjoys government support, Bucha said while talking to The Express Tribune. On the contrary, Pakistan’s total agricultural production is $50 billion per year and the subsidies given by the government are less than 1% of GDP.
The Pakistani farmer has to give an input tax of up to 19%. The Indian government gives subsidies on major inputs like electricity, diesel, urea, freight, whereas Pakistani farmers have to bear the brunt. Lack of government support, lack of policy especially after the 18th Amendment, and very little research on enhancing crop productivity is what Pakistani farmers are facing, he added.
The Sindh Abadgar Board, in a recent meeting to review the impact of NDMA on Pakistan Agriculture sector, also stated that a comparative analysis of agricultural industry of both countries will be sufficient in clarifying that asymmetry exists in the subsidies that are extended to the farmers in both countries. The board also added that urea in India is Rs650 per bag which is around Rs1,094 in Pakistani currency. In Pakistan, cost for the same bag ranges from Rs1,786 and Rs3,600 respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2014.
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