LAHORE If the government, by granting MFN status to India, is eager to enhance its imports from the neighbouring country, firstly it should import cheaper fertilisers, diesel and electricity from there, as our manufacturers are looting the masses by selling their products at much higher rates, experts said. Diesel is Rs94 per liter in Pakistan while in India it is available for Rs77 (Pakistani rupee) per liter. Electricity is being provided to Indian growers at Re1 per unit and in Pakistan it is not less than Rs8.38 per unit, they said. The rate of agriculture produce is much higher in India than Pakistan while their cost of production is very low, as the Pakistani farmers spend Rs321.33 billon more on agri inputs as compared to Indian growers. As per statistics, India provides around Rs855 billion subsidy to its farmers to reduce their production cost, whereas Pakistan hardly spends Rs8 billion in this regard. Indias agriculture production cost was around two to three times lower than Pakistan due to these subsidies, agriculture expert and Agri Forum Pakistan chairman, Ibrahim Mughal said. He claimed that a bag of urea fertilizer of 50kg is available in Pakistan at Rs1,700 but the same bag in India is being sold at Rs513. Similarly, DAP bag is being sold in Pakistan at Rs4,200, while in India it is available for Rs1,539. He stated that the MFN status to India would ruin Pakistani agriculture. He went on to say that because many of the local industries depend on agriculture, so the industries will also be affected by granting MFN status to India. Curtailing water by India is an attempt to convert Pakistan into a desert and in this way it would sell its fruits and vegetables in Pakistani markets more conveniently at cheaper rates. Bilateral trade between the two countries should be on the basis of equality, he stressed. He said if Islamabad is serious in giving the status of most favoured nation to India, it must complete its homework first, he said. Mughal urged the government to provide a level playing field to the Pakistani growers before awarding MFN status to India. In an appeal to the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, he stated that India gives an annual subsidy of Rs855 billion to its agricultural sector and Rs340 billion to the food sector. If Pakistan wants to grant MFN status to India, it should first ensure abolition of this subsidy on Indian side or givt same amount of subsidies to Pakistani growers to ensure a level playing field, he demanded. He appreciated setting up of a ministry at the federal level for food security and hoped that this new ministry would work efficiently with less spending. Appreciating the government step of timely stopping sugar import and allowing import of urea, he warned that before granting MFN status to India, government should look into some ground realities. He proposed that the amount for this subsidy could be generated by reducing government official vehicles by half and saving expenses on petrol and maintenance of these vehicles. He said the decision would compromise the viability of domestic pharmaceutical industry. Local industry is importing 99 per cent of its raw material from India and China, but once the MFN status is functional local manufacturing would be out of question, he added. Mughal warned the government not to give most favoured nation status to India, saying such a move would be equivalent to economic and agricultural destruction of the country. Mughal said talks on the issue of Kashmir and water should precede dialogues on trade. He said Pakistans Trade Secretary Zafar Mehmood is unaware of geographical realities of the country. He said such a status could only be given to India if the Pakistani traders get facilities in India. He said India was planning to make the lands of Pakistan barren by stopping its water and at the same time it was deceiving the world in the name of composite dialogue. Pakistani farmers cannot compete with their Indian counterparts, as the Indian government is providing high subsidies on the agriculture inputs, making the cost of production almost half. Agri experts said there is a marked difference in prices of inputs, including fertiliser, seeds, pesticides, diesel and electricity in both the countries, they said. Hence, they said, there is no comparison between the overall costs of production of farmers living in the two countries. They said that due to such multiple factors, we are not capable of compete with India in international as well as in our own market. They asked the government to ensure level-playing field to their own farmers before opening trade route with India. Since inception, the agriculture sector remained neglected and suffered from the lack of investment by the government of Pakistan, they said, adding that India had always given intense importance to its agriculture sector augmented by various subsidies and other incentives.