Kisan Package to help mitigate problems of small farmers

415

ISLAMABAD, Nov 17 (APP): The Rs. 341 billion “Kisan Relief Package”, announced by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif would help improve the condition of small scale growers and small land holders of wheat, sugarcane, rice, cotton and maize in the country.
Under the package, the small rice farmers would be provided Rs. 5,000 per acre cash support while assistance of Rs. 5,000 would be provided to cotton growers as well.
About Rs. 40 million would be spent for the provision of cash grants to rice and cotton farmers. This cost would be jointly shared by Federal and Provincial Governments, it wa officially announced.
The government had also announced Livestock Insurance Policy
of Rs. 2.5 billion to benefit about 700,000 farmers particularly
small ones in case their fields were affected due to any natural
calamity.
Besides, interest-free loans will be provided to farmers who
own 12.5 acres or less land for the installation of solar-powered
tube-wells or for the conversion of existing tube-wells to solar
system.
The judicious and transparent use of relief package could
minimize farmers problems and challenges besides boosting the
agri-sector to maintain food safety and security in the country.
Commenting on the PM Kisan Package, Secretary Information,
Pakistan Kisan Board, Hajji Muhammad Ramzan called upon the
government to introduce transparency in the distribution of
agricultural funds for the larger benefits of small and medium
land holders.
He suggested that the government should introduce proper
price mechanism for fixing the crop output prices like sugarcane,
rice and cotton to protect local farmers so that they could
sustain the decreasing pricing trend of these major cash crops
of the country.
He said like wheat, the government should also activate
cotton corporation to stabilize the crop price for giving maximum
benefits to growers of their produce.
On the other hand, steps must be taken to minimize the role
of middleman to stop exploitation of farmers besides providing
facilities to export the surplus production of rice, cotton
and sugar, he added.
Hajji Ramzan stressed the need for constructing small dams
to overcome water shortage as well as to produce less expensive
electricity for agri-sector besides abolishing duties on solar
plates to produce alternative energy for the sector.
It may be recalled that the current government had introduced
several steps for the revival of agriculture sector of the country
including Kisan Relief Package, interest-free loans for installation
of solar tube-wells, subsidy on fertilizers and provision of
certified seeds to enhance per acre crop output.
It is the need of hour to ensure implementation of these steps
to benefit small land holders who comprise a major portion of the agri-sector.
It may be mentioned that agriculture sector, which accounts for
20.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is a major
source of livelihood of about 43.5 percent of rural population, has
been facing multi-dimensional challenges.
Although, the major crop production including wheat, rice,
cotton and maize had witnessed significant increase during last
couple of years, but farmers were not getting proper rates of
their produces due to poor market mechanism.
During the fiscal year 2014-15, the overall performance of
agriculture sector registered a growth of 2.9 percent as compared
to 2.7 percent during last year due to positive growth in
all agriculture related sub-sectors.
According to official figures, during the last financial
year, crops production witnessed an increase of 1.0 percent,
livestock 4.1 percent, forestry 3.2 percent and fishing 5.8
percent.
On the other hand, prices of major staple commodities
witnessed a decreasing trend in international commodity markets
which resulted in increase of challenges for the local farmers.
To overcome such challenges, safeguarding the local farmers
from major dent and providing them proper rate of their produces,
the government had taken several steps including announcing the
support prices for major crops including wheat, sugarcane besides intervening to stabilize the prices of rice and cotton to protect
local farming community.