Curbing role of middlemen to boost farmers’ returns by 40pc: Tarin

Published May 19, 2021
Tarin stresses the need to empower farmers by offering interest-free loans. — AFP
Tarin stresses the need to empower farmers by offering interest-free loans. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Finance and Revenue Minister Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday highlighted the importance of curtailing dominance of middlemen effectively, which he said would enable the growers to get 35 to 40pc higher returns of their agricultural produce.

Mr Tarin was speaking at a meeting with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, according to a press statement issued by the Finance Ministry.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division and Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research also participated in the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the existing farm gate price mechanism and the problems faced by the farmers in transporting the perishable commodities particularly vegetables and fruits to the nearest market or first point of sale, it added.

The role of middlemen was also discussed during the meeting who make money at the expense of farmers particularly with small and marginal land holdings.

Mr Tarin said that achieving economic sustainability was the biggest challenge in the field of agriculture and highlighted the importance of boosting farm productivity by facilitating farmers through interest-free agri loans so that they get fair share of their produce.

The finance minister stressed the need to empower farmers by offering interest-free loans.

He discussed modalities for provision of microcredit to farmers enabling them to purchase fertilisers, pesticides and other basic inputs through syndicate of banks and microfinance institutions.

The provision of interest-free loans to the small farmers would transform the agricultural sector and end exploitation by the middlemen.

The underlying rationale is to pave the way towards sustainable farming by offering interest-free loans with maximum flexibility. He directed to work out a mechanism for disbursement of microcredit to farmers with smaller land holdings and discuss in the next meeting.

The minister also discussed a multi-dimensional approach to streamline agro-industry and underlined the need to build commodity warehouses and cold storages facilities for farmers throughout the country, enabling them to transport perishable commodities (kitchen items) to the point of sale in time.

He stressed the need for building strategic reserves for essential commodities.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2021

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