Agriculture input prices witness 80 to 100 percent increase

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
LAHORE: The prices of different agricultural inputs have registered an increase of 70 percent to 100 percent during the last five years as compared to 40 percent to 45 percent increase in agriculture produce prices, said Hasan Ali Chaniho, director of Farmers Associates Pakistan and former agriculture minister of Sindh, while speaking at a function arranged by the Agricultural Journalists Association at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“There is an urgent need to bring down agriculture input costs as high prices discourage the use of fertilisers, pesticides and quality seeds in required quantities, thus negatively impacting per acre yield,” he said.

“Bringing down prices would help increase per acre yield, which would lead towards strengthening the national economy and enhancing GDP, increasing growers’ incomes and poverty eradication from the rural areas.”

Chaniho discussed the various factors impeding agricultural growth in Pakistan, including the mushroom growth of seed companies leading to provision of impure and poor quality of different seeds. Farmers could get the same crop’s seed from Rs100 per kg to 1,000 per kg, while there is no guarantee of quality. He called for regulating the seed sector.

“BT cotton has replaced rice and sugarcane in Thatta, Badin and Tando Muhammad Adam. However, issues of various pest attacks, including armyworm last year and pink bollworm this year are still being faced,” he said.

“Such attacks pose a grave threat to crops that could be avoided by ensuring the availability of certified BT cotton seed.” The most important input in the agriculture sector was water, he added, but in Pakistan the provinces situated at the tail of the water network were raising the issue of shortage, while those in the upper riparian zone were complaining about water wastage into the sea, he added. However, he said, there was a dire need for judicious use of water. A significant amount of water could be saved from canals to farm gates and in fields. About 50 percent of river water actually reaches the farm gate through the network of canals and we lose 10 percent to 15 percent water in the field due to seepage and obsolete irrigation practices, he observed.

Courtesy: The News

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