Pakistani Farmers Urges Govt to Introduce New Farmer Policy

Pakistani farmers have urged the government to introduce a new and improvised farmer policy in line with the latest global trends as they believe that the state of affairs in the agriculture sector are moving in the wrong direction.

Pakistani Farmers Urges Govt to Introduce New Farmer Policy

Growers associated with the Kissan Ittehad – a farmers’ association – said, “Despite being an agrarian economy, the agriculture sector has been neglected along with the farming community, which has led to the setting up of new associations with each passing day.”

During a farmers’ convention, Kissan Ittehad (North Zone) President Rauf Tatlah stated, “We want to draw the government and relevant ministry’s attention to the contemporary issues and challenges faced by the farming community in Punjab with special focus on subsidised agricultural inputs to increase crop yields and safeguard economic rights of farmers.”

“These issues should be addressed immediately before they lead to food crisis in the country,” he stressed.

Speakers were of the view that being part of the global village, every country (developed or developing) subsidised its agriculture industry, especially the farmers, with free electricity, di-ammonium phosphate, urea, pesticides, crop insurance, low-cost fuel, low-priced and high-quality seeds, etc.

Even in India, the government had implemented friendly policies to support farmers with low-cost agricultural inputs, they added.

As a result, their part of Punjab is now considered the food basket of India. However, in Pakistan, the government adopted adverse farmer policy to create more hardships for the already suppressed community, they said.

Prices of DAP and urea are way higher when compared with India. Besides water shortage, high taxes and electricity charges have pushed the community to the stage where its survival is at stake.

On top of all these obstacles, when a farmer brings its final product to the market, buyers manipulate them as there are no official weighing machines in markets.

“Since our inception, the government has failed to provide quality seeds to farmers and it still relies on imported seeds that result in high costs,” they lamented.

“Established research centres are either non-functional or merged with government bodies. Discouraging cotton crop over sugarcane has destroyed the textile industry that now has to rely on imported raw material to fulfill its needs whereas Pakistan has long been known for its best quality cotton,” they said.

Farmers had been deprived of competitive market prices for their produce while middlemen took all the price benefits. Thus, on every stage, farmers were exploited and deprived of their basic rights of easy access to quality agricultural inputs and fair price for their produce, the stakeholders lamented.

Originally published by Tribune