Farmer’s community has welcomed the fertilizer manufacturers decision to resume sales of urea after the government gave assurance to issue subsidy notification within 10 days time period. Urea sales were stopped as government’s concerned ministry were reluctant to issue notification for disbursement of newly announced subsidy in 2017-18 budgets. Government intervention was necessary to dissolve this crisis to avoid serious consequences in term of low agriculture yield and poor quality of crops. June and July are considered the peak season for best utilization of urea for better agricultural output. This was a vital step taken by the fertilizer manufacturers, and a great response by the government to work together to ensure availability of cheap Urea at this crucial time when farmer needed it the most. 

It is a fact that Pakistan’s fertilizer industry plays a key role in terms of input for our agriculture sector, the driving force behind the national economy. The agricultural sector generates 24% of the country’s GDP and 65% of foreign exchange earnings through exports, while it provides employment to over 50% of the employed labor force and also ensures food security for the country 

The new budget has also promised great benefits, however, the optimum benefits of these incentives would not reach the deserving communities in the agricultural sector if the government will not devise an effective mechanism to directly pass on the subsidy benefit to farmer community without involving the fertilizer industry. Previously announced subsidy faced serious setback after 20 billion worth of claims are still stuck in government cumbersome verification process and fertilizer industry is facing the pinch in the form of financial hardship. If delays and undue hiccups in processes like these occur without considering the suggestions of the industry’s experts and stakeholders, the real value and advantages of regulatory support cannot be derived. 

So, in this time of need, the government and fertilizer manufacturers need to cooperate and work closely in a manner that puts the farmers, the industry and the government in a win-win situation, where each party benefits simultaneously without harming the interests of each other. 

SHAHID SALEEM,  

Islamabad, July 11.