LAHORE - LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad has raised alarm bells at the severe downturn in the tractor industry.

He expressed these views while meeting a delegation of leading tractor part manufacturing industries of Lahore. The delegation was headed by former LCCI Executive Committee Member Mumshad Ali.

The LCCI President said that a large SME membership base of LCCI has raised serious concerns at the apathy of the provincial and federal governments with regards to the tractor industry crisis.

Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that going into the detail of the issue elaborated that agriculture is the very foundation of the national economy and governments of developed and developing countries around the world support the agri sector alike. Without government incentives this strategic sector cannot sustain itself. He further added that agriculture output is weather dependant and goes through cycles of over and under production and therefore long term government support is imperative.

He said that in the absence of substantial Zari Taraqiyati Bank Ltd (ZTBL) loaning, and no provincial support to the Punjab farmer for procurement of tractors, there is little hope of revival of the tractor industry. This means job losses in Lahore region and drop in revenue of the government.

The tractor industry has tremendous export potential and contributed 40 billion rupees in the national economy last year, besides employing 500,000 skilled work force. He pressed upon both the federal and Punjab governments to take a holistic view of the problem , and come up with long term solutions to the issue of erratic and now dwindling tractor demand.

Arshad added that contrary to Pakistan in neighboring India, agriculture sector remains the corner stone of preferential policy of successive Indian governments. Tractor sales trend in India is on a steady growth path for the last many years with tractor production which is 12 times that of Pakistan. On the contrary tractor sales in Pakistan are a typical boom and bust story depicting policy changes by the government. When horse power per hectre is compared, Pakistan stands at 1.5 Hp/hctr, where as in India it is 2.5 Hp/Hctr resulting in better crop yields.