ISLAMABAD: The advisory council of the Fertiliser Manufacturers of Pakistan (FMPAC) on Wednesday renewed its offer to support the federal government in formulating a workable direct subsidy scheme for farmers with a view to adequate use of fertilisers, leading to increased agricultural production in the country.

In a statement, the FMPAC advisory council regretted that the direct targeted subsidy scheme for farmers had been under consideration by the government to ensure that the desired benefit was passed on to small farmers. However, the government has not yet been able to pass on the benefit of the subsidy on expensive phosphate fertilisers to farmers across the country.

The advisory council is still awaiting a response to a letter it sent in June to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. Back then, the council had offered to partner with the government to formulate a workable direct subsidy scheme. The lack of a proper mechanism for subsidy distribution will impact all the major agricultural crops, warned the FMPAC.

FMPAC Advisory Council Executive Director Brig (retd) Sher Shah Malik said that a significant drop in the use of phosphatic fertiliser has been witnessed due to unprecedented high prices and difficulties in importing due to restraints on foreign exchange. Failure of the government to subsidise the costly fertilisers has also contributed to the decline in the balanced use of fertilisers, he said.

He was concerned that the lack of a proper mechanism in place for subsidy distribution may have led to a drastic impact on the crops.

The Punjab government introduced a voucher-based SMS-enabled direct subsidy mechanism, but still the subsidy benefit could not be passed on to farmers, the statement said.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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