QUETTA: Balochistan Agriculture Minister Mir Asadullah Baloch has asked the federal government to immediately stop the smuggling of urea fertiliser to Afghanistan.

Speaking at a press conference along with Agriculture Secretary Umid Ali on Wednesday, the minister said that if urea fertiliser supply was not restored to Balochistan, the province might fail to achieve the wheat target fixed by the federal government for the province.

“Balochistan immediately needs urea fertiliser for the wheat crop, as wheat-growing areas of Nasirabad division are facing serious situation due to fertiliser shortage,” Mr Baloch said, adding that Balochistan needed 186,800 tonnes of fertiliser while the province had so far been supplied 51,502 tonnes.

“Farmers of Balochistan are protesting against the shortage of urea, but the authorities concerned are not paying attention to their demand,” he said.

Mr Baloch said urea fertiliser was being smuggled to Afghanistan through Balochistan but the authorities concerned had failed to stop its smuggling to the neighbouring country.

“Frontier Corps and other security forces deployed in the province should take action against the elements involved in the smuggling of urea fertiliser to Afghanistan,” he said.

He pointed out that Balochistan’s 80 per cent population was affiliated with the agriculture sector and its livelihood depended on it.

In reply to a question, the minister said the provincial government was trying to resolve the issue through talks to ensure the rights of its people as it was not playing the role of the opposition.

“We are in touch with the federal government, the prime minister and other authorities concerned and are taking steps to resolve the problem of Balochistan’s farmers by presenting our position in meetings held through video links on a daily basis to overcome the crisis,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022

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