March 30, 2016
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain demanded enhanced focus on agriculture as eighty percent exports of country are linked to agriculture.
Development of agriculture sector is linked to prosperity of farmer which should not be put on the back burner, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that 69 percent of cultivable land is located in Punjab where 80 percent cotton, 63 percent sugar cane, surplus wheat and rice and other products are produced therefore this province should get extra attention.
He said that the agricultural production is not satisfactory despite the 341 billion farmers package announced by the Prime Minister in November last year.
The exports of rice, cotton and textiles continue to fall while production of yarn and cloth is unsatisfactory calling for attention of the authorities.
He said that dwindling agriculture, low commodity prices and collapse of cotton crop has resulted in reduced demand of tractors by 47 percent which is alarming.
He said that the price of a 50 kg bag of urea is 200 rupees more in country as compare to international market which should be balanced lest it discourage farmers and hit production.
Agricultural development is also linked to reduced input prices, quality seed and pesticides, and loans for which we lack a transparent and effective system putting growers on the mercy of loan sharks.
The quality of life of planters should be improved with intervention to boost share of agriculture in GDP which is hovering around 22 percent so that food security situation can be improved.
He lauded the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for announcing steps to boost agricultural sector demanding immediate implementation.