ISLAMABAD (News Desk) – Accepting the fact that performance of the agriculture sector plays a key role in improving the GDP growth rate, the federal government has announced some crucial steps for the uplift of farmers in the 2016-17 budget.
These steps include: reduction of electricity rate from Rs. 8.85 to Rs. 5.30/unit, cut in urea price by Rs. 400/bag, reduction in DAP price to Rs. 2,500 from Rs. 3,900 and a decrease in the mark-up rate on agricultural loans by 2pc.
Moreover, Rs. 100 billion have been added to the credit tally in the budget while special general sales tax has been abolished on the import of pesticides.
All these historic measures will, for sure, reduce the farmers’ expenses, however the revival of agriculture sector depends on some other steps as well, which are linked with the prices of the produced crops.
This is what the budget 2016-17 lacks for agriculture sector and the key question arises about how far would this one-way relief package will help to reduce farmers reduce losses due to decreasing prices of the outputs?
The agricultural sectors are of the opinion that this is only a temporary relief to the farmers and it will no longer improve the farming sector in the country. They say that without resolving the price mechanism, no such relief package can improve the situation.
According to experts, farmers have taken to roads for protest only when their produced crops do not get proper prices and they have sell their commodities at a price lower than their production cost.
Instead of introducing such short-term packages, government should focus on market stability, agricultural research, disaster and climate change management and development of farmers, they suggest.
The article originally appeared in daily Dawn.