MULTAN: National Food, Security and Research Minister Sikandar Hayat Bosan on Sunday said the government had presented a farmer-friendly budget, which also impressed the opposition parties.
The opposition parties, he said, were not expecting that the government would reduce electricity tariff to Rs 5.35 for agriculture tube wells, abolish sales tax on pesticides, reduction in prices of fertilisers, lifting of import duty on fish seed and many other incentives for farmers.
“I have received many congratulation messages from members of the opposition parties for this farmer-friendly budget,” Bosan said while speaking at a press conference on Sunday.
He said the agriculture sector had been facing several challenges for last three years due to remarkable reduction in prices of commodities at international level. The cost of production was very much high in Pakistan and the country’s farmers could not compete internationally, the minister added.
Bosan said he had been struggling for last three years to lower the cost of production in the agriculture sector to enable farmers to get handsome earning and put the country on way to progress and prosperity. The country, he said, had been producing surplus wheat for the last three years, which could not be exported due to high cost of production. However, he added, the government was trying to export million of tonnes of wheat.
The minister said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had issued instructions for giving special incentives to the agriculture sector to improve financial condition of peasants. The provincial governments, he stressed, should spend more on the agriculture sector.
He recalled that when he was minister of food and agriculture in the past, total development budget of his ministry was Rs 32 billion. “After the 18th amendment, agriculture became a provincial subject and now his ministry had Rs 1.5 billion development budget only,” he added.
Bosan said the banks would provide agricultural loans of Rs 700 billion and reduction in cost of production would surely improve living standard of farmers. On a query, Bosan said agriculture was an important sector and there should not be politics on it.
Source: Daily Times