ISLAMABAD - PTI’s National Organiser Shah Mahmood Qureshi yesterday said that the PML-N farmers’ package was long overdue but the ruling party failed to offer a substantive relief to the farmers.

He said that even this package only came in the wake of PTI's Kissan conferences and demands for relief to the besieged farmers.

In a statement, Qureshi said that the package was symptomatic of the PML-N's mindset, which seeks high visibility short-term projects but fails to address the long-term issues and interests of the people.

He made it clear that the present package has ignored the real needs of the farmers and tried to play to the gallery at a time when local bodies elections are to be held in Punjab and Sindh.

He pointed out that two major demands of the farmers - the introduction of support price index and removal of GST on agricultural inputs - remained undressed. Nor is there any incentive to remove the stagnation in agricultural growth in Pakistan - with average growth in the last 5 years remaining under 3 percent. This has bolstered the cycle of poverty in the country especially in the rural areas, he said.

Qureshi stated that due to the sharp rise in the cost of production, all major crops like cotton, paddy, maize and potato are uneconomical at the current market prices.

The PTI leader said that the Rs 341 billion Kissan package is a notional figure which fails to provide direct relief to the farmer and only details the presumptive impact of the same.

While the cash support subsidy of Rs 5000 per acre for cotton and paddy farmers is a welcome move, which can directly benefit the farmer, he added. Qureshi reminded that a similar announcement was made last year in respect of paddy farmers but the government failed to implement it, as admitted by the federal minister Sikandar Bosan on a TV show yesterday.