ISLAMABAD - Speakers at a policy seminar here Tuesday stressed the need to bring down cost of agricultural production in local markets to maintain competitiveness in international markets.

The policy seminar titled “Fiscal Space for Investment in Agriculture-A review of Taxes and Subsidies in Agriculture in Pakistan” was organized by Pakistan Strategy Support Program, a project of International Food Policy Research Institute.

The aim of the event was to discuss research findings on net fiscal position of agriculture sector and issues and challenges faced by the sector. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said farmers are not currently liable to income tax , but they are contributing to national exchequer via indirect taxes on agricultural inputs.

The minister highlighted importance of agriculture sector in terms of economic growth, poverty and welfare of the poor households. The minister reiterated that the study was initiated to address these issues by adopting a systematic and evidence based approach.

Dr Stephen Davies, Senior Research Fellow International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) presented the findings of research. He presented the net fiscal position of agriculture sector and government outlay in agricultural sector, fertilizer subsidies, operation. The maintain cost of irrigation system, outlays on wheat procurement, agricultural taxation and subsidies came under review in the discussion.