ISLAMABAD: The mode of implementation for the multi-billion ‘Agricultural Fiscal Package’ was discussed at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) on Thursday, with the federal and provincial governments agreeing that its delivery should be transparent.
Under the agriculture package, subsidy to the tune of about Rs37 billion would be offered to farmers on the purchase of fertilisers.
Chairing the meeting, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam said this is the highest amount of subsidy under the package that would empower farmers and in turn strengthen the agricultural base of the country.
“The future belongs to organic agriculture.
The government’s priority would be long-term research and increasing the production of five major crops,” the minister said.
Under the agriculture package, diminution in markup of agriculture loans to farmers at the total cost of Rs8.8bn, subsidy on cotton seed at a cost of Rs2.3bn and white fly pesticides at Rs6bn were approved.
The package would also include Rs2.5bn subsidy on sales tax on the locally-manufactured tractors for a period of one year.
Mr Imam said the federation and provinces will agree on a mechanism to provide each subsidy.
All banks in the scheme, including the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, will enhance outreach of farmers, with focus on subsistence farmers with a land holding of 12.5 acres.
The minister directed provincial agriculture secretaries on the implementation mechanism and its monitoring to ensure that the actual beneficiaries of package were genuine farmers.
There are 8.2 million farmers in the country and the prime minister wants to revive the agricultural sector, the minister said.
Subsidy on fertilisers would be delivered to farmers, he said, adding that transparency was not observed in the past.
Mr Imam praised Balochistan for growing organic cotton on 15,000 acres.
Earlier, MNFSR Economic Consultant Dr Muhammad Ali Talpur briefed the meeting about the agriculture package which was approved by the Cabinet in May.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2020