February 04, 2014
Recorder: The farmers associations have demanded of the government to sign a separate agreement with India on free trade of agriculture commodities and products, as they foresee a very dangerous situation for Pakistan agriculture sector if MNF status was granted to India.
As the government is holding a crucial meeting with the agriculture sector stakeholders in Islamabad on Tuesday, the representatives of the farmers told Business Recorder that they would caution the government to exercise restraint and calculate cost benefit ratio before taking a decision in a hurry.
Hamid Malhi, President, Basmati Growers Association and Director FAP, said that he would impress upon the government that the Pakistani farmers did not have a level playing field against their India competitors. In India, both agriculture and food are massively subsidised while in Pakistan, they are heavily taxed. He said India was already trying to demolish farming sector of Pakistan. India had launched an organised effort to grab Pakistani prized agriculture products such as Basmati rice fraudulently.
He said that bureaucrats are trying to make a case against farmers and rushing forward to give India MFN status in a haste. Ibrahim Mughal, Chairman, Agriculture Forum Pakistan, said that farmers of Pakistan were at the receiving end and were forced to run from pillar to post in order to make both ends meet. The cost of production of agriculture commodities are 300 to 400 percent higher in Pakistan as compared to India, he added.