LAHORE There is 40 per cent per acre yield gap between Pakistan and the neighbouring countries including India and other poor countries while this breach widens to 100 per cent if compared with the developed world. As we are applying less input and even that of low quality seeds so our yield per acre is also low. So we should have encouraged the farmers to increase use of inputs with a view to improve output, terming it only feasible option to enhance productivity, said agri expert Jamshed Iqbal Cheema. He said that the USA is using 100 percent maize hybrid seed in 1938. India is using 88 per cent hybrid cotton seed today while ratio of utilization of hybrid seed of Canola, Sunflower, vegetables and fodder stands at 100 percent. While in Pakistan we are only using 15 percent hybrid rice seed, 40 percent maize and below 50 percent in vegetable, he added. He said: Pakistan was among those four countries of Islamic world including Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who were under nourished. Our calories consumption per person is 34 percent less than the rest of the world. There was only one way to meet the food deficiency and that was to increase the production, but taxing the pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural implements would hamper this effort. Talking to the Association of Agricultural Journalists Lahore Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Scientists Association (PASA) added that less use of inputs due to its rising prices would ultimately translate into low production of crops. He said imposition of General Sales Tax (GST) on agricultural inputs and tractors have immediately resulted in 25 percent price hike in pesticides, 17 percent tractors and 20 per cent increase in the prices of fertilizers. He added that new taxation measures may result in decline or stagnant agricultural growth because of decrease in production of various crops. Cheema claimed that increased food prices had proved a catalyst or biggest intervention for the growers community to go for more production and it was being expected that the agricultural economy may have a 12 percent growth rate during the calendar year 2011. However, he regretted that new taxation measures introduced by the Federal government would reverse the situation as it would lead to significantly increasing prices of inputs. He said that whole economy of Pakistan was dependent on agricultural and foreign remittance. 'Our leading industrial sector including textile, sugar, flour, rice and leather are dependent on agricultural sector and growth in agriculture would save our economy in future, Cheema viewed. Chairman PASA said that he had in the recent past given a presentation to a committee of the parliamentarians headed by Fauzia Wahab that the government instead of taxing the inputs should tax the agricultural income. Same slabs could be introduced on agricultural income as was applicable on salary and other income. He was of the view that taxing agricultural input means directly affecting productivity of farm sector. The committee was briefed that we were already far behind in yield gap if compared with even developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 'We are around 40 percent behind in per acre yield of various crops from these countries. In Egypt farmers use fertilizers at the rate of 500 kilograms per acre, in Europe, it is 380 per kilogram and in Pakistan it is just at the rate of 132 kilograms per acre, Cheema claimed. Talking about the increasing food prices globally, he said that all the commodity prices had registered 168 percent average increase after the year 2005. Now every crop has become lucrative for farmer whether it is maize, wheat, rice, edible oil or cotton. He said earlier it was customary that farmers increase area under cultivation of that crop which register increase in prices but now price of every crop has increased almost with the same ratio, so there are no chances of increase in area under cultivation. He said that it was an opportunity for all of us that we should encourage using more inputs. He said that he had requested that committee not to tax input and instead give a target to the agricultural sector for increasing the growth rate.