LAHORE: Agriculture is not a priority anymore for the government, as policies of the federal and provincial governments have failed in arresting the declining trend in the income of farmers, said Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) President Khalid Mehmood Khokhar.
“Farmers from the Punjab province - touted as the bread basket of the country - have long been demanding the government to abolish undue tax on farm inputs and provide subsidies on various heads to give relief to loss-bearing farmers,” he said.
In addition, PKI also raised concerns over the suggestion of allotting the land of National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) for a housing scheme in the federal capital to generate revenue from the real estate business.
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He was also perturbed over the colossal loss incurred upon farmers in the cultivation of even cash crops like cotton, rice and sugarcane.
Khokhar claimed that the average per-acre cost of cotton including all inputs/operations comes around Rs84,100, however, the market rate per maund for cotton is Rs57,200, which means a farmer who sows cotton will bear a loss of Rs26,900 per acre, which is huge.
Similarly, sugarcane’s average production cost per acre comes at around Rs151,700 and market rate is around Rs135,000 per maunds and farmer involved with the sugarcane crop have to bear a loss of Rs16,700 per acre.
Rice growers, he said, were facing the maximum loss per acre. The average cost of rice per acre comes in at Rs67,200, whereas the market price currently is at Rs36,000, depicting a loss of Rs31,200 per maund.
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Khokhar said the only solution for this increasing cost is the subsidy which will not only provide relief to farmers but will also help strengthen the agriculture sector in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.
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