MULTAN/HAFIZABAD

The Kissan Board Pakistan rejected on Wednesday the relief package announced by the government for the small farmers, saying mere Rs5,000 cash support against each acre would not offer any support to the price hike-hit small growers.

Talking to the journalists here, Kissan Board Pakistan president Sadiq Khan Khakwani, senior vice president Sarfaraz Ahmad Khan and secretary general Malik Muhammad Ramzan said that the way the prices of agricultural inputs went up and agricultural produces went down. This support would achieve nothing, they said.

They added that the farmers had demanded the government to fix per maund price of rice at Rs2,500 and cotton Rs4,000 while currently Basmati rice was being sold at Rs900 and cotton Rs2,200. They said that the government was aware of the factual situation but it tried to hoodwink the farming community by announcing a lollypop. They declared that the Kissan Board would continue Kissan Raaj Tehreek until the demands of farmers were accepted. They demanded the government to remove sales tax from agricultural inputs as it would result into a considerable relief to the farming community.

They said that all the subsidies benefited stock dealers and owners of factories while the farmers remained deprived. They were of the opinion that the plan to supply LNG instead of Sui Gas was also a danger bell and entire country was abuzz with the corruption stories in LNG import case. They warned that the prices of different items would go further up if LNG was used in production process.

They demanded the government to fix flat rate for the tube wells, give interest-free loans to the farmers and allocate funds for agriculture sector instead of spoiling money on projects like metro bus.

Likewise, Kisan Board Gujranwala Division President Amanullah Chattha rejected the agricultural package announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Addressing a press conference, he said that no announcement was made for procurement of paddy at suitable rates, which has disappointed the cultivators. He said during the last governments, efforts were made to procure paddy through the Passco which had given some economic relief to the growers. However, he added, due to the anti-growers policies of the present government, the growers have become bankrupt.

Moreover, the PM had assured Rs5,000 per acre to the paddy growers after last year’s flood but now it has announced subsidy of Rs5,000 to growers owning not more than 12.5 acers. Most of the cultivators have been deprived of the subsidy due to the condition, he maintained. He reggrated that the PM has announced subsidy on phosphorus fertiliser but has not decreased the price of Urea which would further burden the growers.