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Govt’s unfriendly consumer policy causes food inflation


Imran Zakir

KARACHI: Chief Financial Officer Engro Fertilizers Limited Imran Ahmed raised the eye brows of media fraternity by revealing the facts about food Inflation and illegal profiteering by food business middle men at a Press conference here at Karachi Press Club, Wednesday.
He said that PTI led Policy team has Pro farmers Policy but anti-Consumer Policy introduced in new Pakistan. Farmers are making money of record level. Government should stop this practice of manipulating the market and looting consumers by keeping check and balance and district administrations will focus on Price Controlling mechanism strategy. We are giving suggestions to government and due to our fertilizer industry efforts we keep check and balance on fertilizers/DAP middle men in order to give best price to farmers.
He said that due to our patriotic vision, we are violating the business practices to make money on our heavy investment just because to serve the national cause and facilitating our farmers to harvest more crop yield. Nowadays farmers are too smart and aware from modern farming technology
Unfortunately, Fertilizer Industry is still un regulated that we can increase our prices at any time but here local urea is available 81% cheaper than the international market, we increased our DAP bag price after the increase in price of Fauji Fertilizers Company (FFC).
Discussing on price hike, He said that the rise in food prices is not related to urea. Global food prices have risen by 34% between July 2020 and June 2021. Locally available urea is Rs 7,500 per bag cheaper than international urea.
The local fertilizer industry is playing an important role in ensuring food security and controlling inflation in Pakistan by providing adequate and affordable urea against international prices. He said that the rise in food prices is one of the major challenges facing the government. However, the rise in food prices is not new in Pakistan as the rise in oil prices, Shipping fares, disruption in supply chain. During one year global food prices have risen by 34%. According to reports, global food prices have reached the highest level in a decade, which has also affected the local market.
He emphasized again that the rise in urea prices had no effect on the rise in food prices as only 2.6 per cent of the farmer’s total expenditure is on urea. He revealed that an increase of Rs 50 per bag in the price of urea makes a difference of only one paisa on the price of wheat while a maximum of 10 paisa on other commodities like rice, sugar, maize, potatoes, tomatoes and bananas.
He said that the local urea industry has saved the country’s farmers from the sharp rise in international urea prices as locally produced urea is available at Rs 1,250 per bag at the 2012 level. Urea is available in the country at a significant discount of 81%, which is Rs 7,500 per bag cheaper than international prices.
He lauded the PTI government for its vision and supportive policies for agriculture sector. Our Group is also thankful to government for resolving our gas issues that our one of the company ‘Fatima fertilizer’ worst affected in past when SSGC is failed to fulfill our gas requirement from newly explored Qadirpur Gas fields in then our this requirement is fulfilled from Mari Gas fields.
He pointed out that the real problem facing local farmers is the global 100 per cent increase in DAP prices which has an impact on the local market as the local demand for DAP is met by imports. To promote high yields and a balanced mix of fertilizers, the government should immediately provide relief to farmers by subsidizing DAP. He said that at present only Punjab government is providing subsidy on DAP. The federal government should also persuade other provincial governments to provide subsidy on phosphate fertilizer for Rabi season 2021-22.