STAFF REPORT IBD: Farm community organizations have contested President Asif Ali Zardari’s claim that government policies have resulted in higher agriculture growth and said rather the growth in agriculture sector has been relatively low due to anti-agriculture policies.

The government has failed to achieve 3.4 per cent growth target of agriculture sector during 2011-2012 because of less than estimated growth in major crops including wheat and cotton, the Farmers Associations said. They said that production of some crops recorded an increase primarily due to favourable weather conditions and had nothing to do with the government policies.

The government set the target of 25 million tons for wheat production for fiscal year 2011-2012 whereas wheat production was only 23.5 million tons for the period. Similarly, the rice target was fixed at 7.2 million tons for year 2011-2012 but the total production of rice could not exceed 6.4 million tons.

“The government has missed the set target of agriculture growth rate of wheat, rice and cotton due to anti-agriculture policies. The government has imposed GST on fertiliser, pesticides and other agriculture equipments, especially tractors which accounts for a considerable increase in the cost of fertilise and pesticides,” said Sarfraz Ahmad Khan, Vice President of Kisan Board Pakistan.

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