DASKA-The Agricultural Instruments Manufacturers Association has urged the federal government to ensure early abolition of 17 percent General Sales Tax to bring down the rising prices of agricultural instruments.

Talking to newsmen at Daska, their representative said that early abolition of the 17 GST would be helpful in reducing the prices of agricultural instruments. This industry was in dire need of governmental patronage and incentives, they added.

Agricultural Instruments Manufacturers Association President Muhammad Iqbal Mughal said that though the season of harvesting was on, but the high prices of agricultural machinery were keeping the small growers and farmers away from the advance farm machinery.

He said that the levy of 17 GST on agriculture implements has 25 percent increased their prices as compared to the last year’s prices. He urged the federal and Punjab governments to patronise the farm machinery manufacturing industry, and take initiatives for the upgradation and modernisation of the industry, as Daska has a special repute in producing agricultural tools.

He noted that the businessmen engaged with that industry were already producing hi-tech agri machinery with their own resources, thus should be supported by the government to make it a viable investment, and to promote agriculture.

He urged the government to take steps to impart necessary training to small farmers on employing modern agri tools and methods for enhancing their per acre yield of crops and help minimize sowing and harvesting problems.

“The government should also provide the facility of loans at low mark-up to agricultural tool manufacturers so that they can upgrade and modernise their workplaces,” he added. He said on the whole, the traditional production techniques were being used by manufacturers without any government assistance, with 90 big and small manufacturing units functioning in and around the tehsil.

Of these, 58 units are producing complete agri machinery while the remaining produce components of various machinery which include fully automotive tools such as wheat reapers, wheat threshers, multipurpose reaper machines and land laser levellers, fodder cutters and wheat sowing machines.

“Daska is the pioneer in manufacture of wheat straw chopper and zero-tillage seed machines. Now, the local industry is producing modern machinery to facilitate farmers across the province,” he said, adding that government assistance was direly needed to promote the industry, vital for the country’s agriculture sector.