Rs 200 increase in 50kg bag of the urea fertilizer has put an additional burden of Rs 26 billion per annum on the cash-starved agriculture sector, Chairman Agri-Forum Pakistan(AFP) Dr Ibrahim Mughal said here on Tuesday. Talking to Business Recorder Mughal said agriculture sector uses 130 million bags of 50kg urea fertilizer for Rabi and Kharif crops. Though the fertilizer producing companies have fixed price of 50kg bag at Rs 1,900, yet it is being sold at Rs 2,000 plus in the market.
He pointed out that the Indian government was providing 50kg urea bag to its farmers at subsided rate of Rs 550 (in Pak Rupee) to boost the agriculture production and strengthen the food security for its populace. On the contrary, Pakistan government has imposed GST that has discouraged farmers to use the required quantities of fertilisers on the strategic crops such as wheat, grams, oil seeds, sugarcane, vegetables, fodder, maize, potatoes etc.
It may be added that the fertilizer producers have increased prices of fertilizers after the government decision to revise the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) upward by Rs 103 per Million British Thermal Unit (MMBTU). Convenor Punjab Water Council and a prominent agronomist Farooque Bajwa said the government has also increased GST on tractors and farm machinery from 10 to 17 percent with effect from 1st January 2014 which has made the farm machinery costlier for the farmers. He said the agriculture policies of the federal and provincial governments are anti-agriculture sector and farming community. The per acre yield of various crops is on decline due to heavy cost of production and least support from the government.