The incumbent PTI government is planning an agriculture reform package worth Rs. 110 billion in the upcoming budget.
This package will be implemented by increasing lending for enhancement of crops, and improvement in farmers’ income by 80 percent, within three years, the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Agriculture, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, informed at a press conference.
He also said that the package would be financed by the center and the provinces on a 50:50 pro-rata basis. The Federal Government will allocate nearly Rs. 25 to 30 billion in the coming budget for the first year. However, the exact amount will be announced after the relevant approvals are secured.
He elaborated that the package would constitute four key elements, including an Rs. 40 billion program in three years for import of semen for administration to animals through its provision to farmers free of cost or at a notional cost, for enhancing the productivity of livestock.
Secondly, another Rs. 40 billion program will be implemented to provide fertilizers at Rs. 1,000 per bag (nitrogenous and phosphoric), to the extent of about 40 million bags. This will cover three major crops — wheat, rice, and maize.
The third key aspect is a Rs. 30 billion three-year package for increasing the number of crops by increasing the share of three crops with a three-month maturity period, including moong, potatoes, beans, and enhancing the share of fruits and vegetables, the news report added.
Agriculture credit would also be increased from the current year’s Rs. 1.5 trillion to Rs. 2.7 trillion over the next two years.
The combination of these three programs is being planned as an initiative for reducing poverty and increasing rural sector income.
Iqbal also said the World Bank suggested that investment in agriculture impacts poverty reduction four times more than any other field.
This will also improve overall support to the industry, and the government will aim to encourage companies through the banking sector and insurance subsidies and for the creation of storages between farms and markets.
Courtesy: Pro Pakistani