Pakistan takes up potato duty with Afghanistan

Updated January 18, 2019

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Currently, potato is available in abundance since the arrival of new crop in the market.
Currently, potato is available in abundance since the arrival of new crop in the market.

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) has decided to call an inter-provincial meeting in Islamabad next week to discuss the issue of 25 per cent duty imposed by Afghanistan on Pakistan’s potato exports since 2015.

Currently, potato is available in abundance since the arrival of new crop in the market. However, potato price in the market is far less than the expenditure in­­curred on cultivation, leaving farmers with no choice except to dispose of the root vegetable. Protesting farmers in Punjab have been urging the government to announce support price for potato to save them.

Talking to Dawn, an official of the ministry said the government has contacted Afghan authorities to waive duty on the import of potato from Pakistan.

Potato from Pakistan re­­aches Central Asian countries via Afghanistan. Interestingly, Pakistan does not impose any duty on the export of potato.

Since the 18th Amend­ment, agriculture has become a provincial subject. However due to severity of the issue, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sahibzada Mehbood Sultan and the ministry officials are liaising with the provincial agriculture departments in a bid to resolve the issue, the official added.

Talks are currently underway through the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, he said.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2019