Fertilizer hoarding impeding food security. The government is forced to import food worth billions of dollars. Economic stability impossible amid political instability.

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(August 23, 2022)

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Tuesday said food self-sufficiency is impossible in the presence of repeated fertilizer crises.

The hoarding mafia will continue to make the lives of farmers miserable and leave people hungry for their own profit, while the government will be forced to import billions of dollars worth of grain every year, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan is self-sufficient in the production of fertilizer but there is a crisis throughout the year, which is an outcome of profiteering and mismanagement.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that fertilizer is available only to those farmers who are willing to buy it on the black market at high prices.

The common farmers who cannot pay premium always get insufficient fertilizer while the subsidy of billions of rupees at the expanse of taxpayers goes into the coffers of the mafia.

The business leader said that a few weeks ago, the government had fixed the price of urea at Rs1950 per bag and manufacturers had agreed to it, but now the price has been increased unilaterally by four hundred rupees which is exploitation of the farmers who have already been devastated by the floods.

The manufacturers say that the government is not paying them the subsidy, so the price has been increased, but it is unfair to punish poor farmers in this dispute, he observed.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that a 15 lakh tons fall is expected in the wheat production that will affect 22 million people.

Agricultural goods worth 17 billion dollars were imported in the last financial year. If this huge amount was spent to reform and rehabilitate agriculture, a revolution could have been in this sector.

Pakistan can not only meet local demand but also earn valuable foreign exchange by exporting agricultural commodities.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the political temperature in the country is rising again. Political and economic stability are interlinked. Achieving economic stability in the presence of political instability is a dream.

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