Different growers’ organisations taking strong exception to discontinuation of subsidy on fertilizers with immediate effect have urged the government to make arrangements to maintain the prices of fertilizers at its present level. Agri Forum Pakistan Chairman Muhammad Ibrahim Mughal talking to Business Recorder claimed that 100 million bags of urea fertilizer and 30 million bags of DAP are sold in Pakistan every year.
He was of the view that subsidy announced on these fertilisers was not reaching the growers; rather it was going into the pockets of bureaucrats and those attached with the production. He said that DAP was being sold on double the price it was available in India. It was available at the rate of Rs 2300-2400 per bag which was shown at Rs 3800 per bag in Pakistan. He said that he had discussed with the provincial secretary agriculture the issue of transparency of subsidy being provided by the government but could not receive any satisfactory answer.
He said still the prices were higher as the Urea manufacturing companies were getting natural gas at Rs 150 mmbtu while commercially it was available at Rs 600-700 per mmbtu. It means the gas was being given to the fertilizer industry on 400 percent less rates. He said the Urea should have been available to the growers at Rs 1000 per bag. The fertilizer industry was earning over 200 percent profit and the government should keep a check on the prices, he suggested.
Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) President Chaudhry Nisar Ahmad and Secretary General Arslan Khan Khakwani in their reactions to the government decision termed it a drone attack on the agricultural sector. They said that prices of oil and electricity were already very high for this sector and now withdrawal of this subsidy would render the fertilisers expensive by Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per bag.
“Increase in the agricultural input prices would ruin this sector as decline in fertilizer application would result in low per acre yield and heavy losses to the growers,” they added. They alleged the government was hoodwinking the farmers by making false claim of extending subsidy on fertilisers. This would increase the input cost leading to higher prices of rice, cotton, sugarcane and other crops which would make it impossible for this sector to compete in the international markets, they alleged. They urged the government to immediately to withdraw this decision otherwise farmers would be forced to come on roads.
Baig, Zahid. Growers urge government to maintain prices of fertilisers. Business Recorder, January 11, 2017.