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PESHAWAR: Expressing concern about the decreasing yield of various crops and vegetables in the provincial capital, the growers have warned they will agitate if the coming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government doesn’t focus attention on the development of agriculture sector in the province.

Accompanied by many farmers, Rashid Mehmood Khan told reporters here on Wednesday that the members of his community were distressed by the declining crop and vegetable yields.

He said more than 70 per cent of the province’s population depended on agriculture for livelihood and if the government failed to give them incentives, the problem of poverty would become acute for them.

Threaten agitation if govt doesn’t develop agriculture sector

The famer leader said the last PTI-led government had announced the Insaf Food Programme promising incentives for growers in the province to increase crop yields but ironically, the promise wasn’t fulfilled.

“We are going to organise a conference of farmers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to discuss their problems and devise a strategy to highlight them at the provincial and federal levels for corrective measures by the governments. If such measures aren’t taken, the agricultural production will not increase,” he said.

Mr Rashid, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, claimed that his party’s last government had given incentives to farmers and resolved most of their problems.

He said the PTI should fulfil election promises after forming government otherwise the people won’t spare it.

The farmer leader said shortage of irrigation water was a major problem facing his community.

He regretted that water supply to the main canals hadn’t been restored months after its suspension for de-silting.

Mr Rashid said irrigation channels in many areas had long needed reconstruction but the successive governments didn’t do so and thus, harming agricultural production.

He also complained about the growing prices of fertilisers, seeds and pesticides and said most farmers were too poor to purchase those items and therefore, their crops were adversely affected.

The farmer leader said the government should provide interest-free loans to growers for better yields of crops, vegetables and fruits in the province.

He said as the agricultural production was gradually decreasing in the province, the local residents had to wait for the supply of crops and vegetables from Punjab, Sindh and even Afghanistan and India.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018