Growers have to pay more on inputs
ISLAMABAD, March 30, 2011: Poverty-stricken growers of Pakistan will have to pay an additional amount of Rs 230 billion on inputs as compared to Indian farmers as most of the agriculture inputs are subsidised across the border, Ibrahim Mughal, Chairman Agri-forum told Business Recorder here on Tuesday.
Ibrahim said that the agriculture policy of Pakistan is flawed because it has failed to ensure a balance between the prices of inputs and outputs. “The total number of urea bags used per annum by growers is 130 million. The price of urea per bag in Pakistan is Rs 1196 per 50-kg while its price in India when converted into Pakistani rupee is Rs 481 per 50-kg. The difference between the prices in both countries is Rs 715. So, the Pakistani growers have to pay an additional amount of Rs 92 billion on purchase of fertiliser per annum,” Ibrahim said.
He added that “A DAP bag is being sold at Rs 4100 per 50-kg while the price of the commodity in India is Rs 1020 per 50-kg when converted into Pakistani rupee. Similarly, the mark-up rate on agriculture loans in India is 8-9 percent while in Pakistan it is more than 13 percent. That is why our growers have to pay an additional amount of Rs 16 billion as interest on the agriculture loans.”
Ibrahim lamented that in spite of low input prices of agricultural products in India, the support price of wheat there is fixed at Rs 950 per 40-kg while in Pakistan it is the same with comparatively high cost of inputs. “The same is with the price of sugarcane as its support price in India is Rs 240 per 40-kg while in Pakistan it is Rs 170-180 per 40-kg.
He said, “I think if we kept on depriving our farmers in terms of high input prices and low returns, a situation may arise when no one would sow anything in the country.” A senior official of the ministry of food and agriculture, on condition of anonymity told this scribe that Minfa Secretary Junaid Chaudhry has been replaced by Shafqat Naghmi, Additional Secretary of Minfa.