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Resolving problems: Punjab set to revamp agriculture policy

FAISALABAD: 

The Punjab government is revamping its agricultural policy to address the problems of farmers in order to increase productivity and alleviate poverty.

Punjab Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmood announced this while speaking at a meeting held at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad on Saturday.

All stakeholders, including farmers associations, agricultural industry, scientists and political leaders would be taken on board before framing the policy, he said. “The policy would be equally acceptable for all the stakeholders.”

Under the new policy, all prioritised areas including seed issue, cropping zones and climate change would be dealt effectively.

The first draft of the proposed agriculture policy has been forwarded to the farming associations, industry, parliamentarians and donors for getting their feedback and finally prioritising the agriculture policy issues.

Mahmood said the requirements and problems of small farmers were different from the bigger farmers, urging that the members involved in the process of policymaking must talk with farmers to inquire about their problems.

The key elements in agriculture sector revolve around crops, land and farmers. But the farmers have remained neglected in the past, he said, calling for identifying priority areas to work with solution and strategy for the betterment of the agricultural sector.

He said the government would introduce Kissan Smart Cards next year for the financial support of farmers and making other transactions more transparent. The card would have all the bio-data and land record of the farmers.

Mahmood said the government would also provide subsidy on potash worth Rs500 million to increase productivity. The new mechanism would be adopted for the distribution of subsidy on potash as a pilot project under which each bag would have a unique code.

The farmers would buy from the open markets and send the code to the given number.

The government would then release the subsidised money to the farmer through Easy Paisa. The government is also mulling over converting all subsidies on agricultural input on the same pattern.

Byline: Shamsul Naz

Source: The Express Tribune

November 14, 2016

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