PM Shehbaz’s revolutionary measures for agricultural development in the country

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The development of any country depends on its agriculture. Pakistan is an agricultural country and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of the coalition government is doing hectic efforts for the development of agriculture in the country. For this purpose it has been announced in the Federal Budget that reforms will be announced in agriculture sector. In this regard, the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema said while elaborating details that in order to reduce the cost of electricity for Farmers more than 1.2 million agricultural tube wells are being converted to solar energy, so that agricultural income of land owners especially of small landowners may be increased. Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said a task force was being formed to finalize the procedure and including commercial banks in financing the facility of Assistance. In addition, under this facility, farmers will have to repay the loan in installments of up to three years. This step has been takenon the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has called for short-term and long-term policies to ensure tangible results in the shortest possible time. He said that attention is being paid to the revival of the agricultural sector specially in order to ensure food security.
Reiterating the government’s commitment to provide farmers with a reasonable rate of return for their produce as well as increasing production of all large and small crops, he said recommendations for an intervention price for cotton had been finalized. These recommendation will be placed on the agenda of the next Cabinet meeting for approval.
Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said the main aim of this measure was to encourage farmers to cultivate as much of this important crop as possible. He added that the sowing area of the crop decreased by 37% during the last season, which was replaced by rice, maize and sugarcane.
The Federal Minister added that the government was also keen to announce a minimum support price for wheat before the start of the sowing season to encourage farmers to sow more wheat so that they could be self-sufficient in basic grain production. So that we could be successful in reducing dependence on imported wheat and edible oil, which is increasing the pressure on our Foreign Exchange Reserves.
The Federal Minister said that the government is well aware of the rising inflation in the country and the problems facing the common man. Steps have been taken and will be taken to control inflationary pressures.
He said the government was ensuring the supply of essential commodities at controlled prices through the Utility Stores Corporation’s network and had been providing wheat, flour and other items during the holy month of Ramadan. To prevent any possible food shortages because of the Ukraine conflict, the government has increased its strategic reserves and increased the wheat procurement targets of all provincial Governments and Pasco. He added that it has also been decided to import about 3 million tones of wheat, so that smooth and continuous supply of wheat throughout the year may be ensured.
Highlighting the relief measures introduced by the present Government for the agricultural sector, he said that sales tax on tractors has been withdrawn and cotton and canola seeds have been exempted from sales tax. No tax has been levied on fertilizers for the convenience of farmers. The Federal Minister said that the Government was paying special attention to small scale farmers as they constitute about 92% of the farming community holding less than 12 acres of land. He added that measures would be introduced to ensure their access to soft loans and protect them from exploitation.
Tariq Bashir said that despite the strict terms and condition of the the International Monetary Fund with previous Government, the allies decided to take tough decisions to save the country from default and also to take the people into confidence by informing them of all the facts. Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said that the Government was taking other steps to benefit from China’s experience and expertise in agriculture and livestock. He added that an agreement has been finalized with China for the improvement of buffalo breeding. He said that China is the largest importer of meat of cow, so the China has been asked to set up farms in Pakistan. This will help us for the development of our native livestock sector.
Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said border trade with Iran, which has been suspended for two years, has been resumed. The first consignment of apples from Iran will reach Pakistan this month while mangoes will be exported from Pakistan to Iran.
But it has also been decided that trade between Pakistan and Iran will be fully restored by September this year. Officials in both countries have agreed on export about 100,000 tonnes of rice to Iran. Actually Government of Pakistan is pursuing a policy of expanding trade with all the regional countries. In this regard, work is being done to remove other obstacles in transit trade so that Agriculture and Livestock could be rapidly improved. A long standing demand of farmers from the previous government was the availability of quality seeds and pesticides should be ensured but now negotiations have been finalized with a reliable Monsanto company under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Now the demand of Farmers to ensure supply of fertilizers at cheaper at affordable rates is going to be fulfilled. More over hoarding and black marketing of commodities will also be discouraged.
The final announcement will be made after early consultation among the stakeholders in this regard.
Figures show that Government spends 4.5 Billions of dollars annually on import of oil, It is considered that If the situation of world economy remains the same, we may have to spend 6 billion dollars in the near future. It is very soorwful that unfortunately the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek was negligent and carelessness in improving many other sectors, the cultivation of oilseeds could not be encouraged but now the government will announce a special Package for farmers for the promotion of cultivation of oil seeds in the country.