LAHORE - The Basmati Growers Association (BGA) is angry over the attitude of the decision-makers for granting MFN status to India, saying the subsidised agri products from India would ruin the agriculture sector of Pakistan.
He made it clear that farmers would resist any such move which is planned to ruin their livelihoods and badly affect the economy as well. “The haste being shown by the ministry bigwigs is beyond imagination,” he opined, raising a question: Do these ministries belong to Pakistan or India? Malhi said the politicians also need to realise that somebody is pulling the rug from under their feet. “The elections are nearing and farmers’ resentment can put a real dent in the vote bank,” he warned.
He said that farmers had not demanded subsidies but a level playing field. “If the country is unable to subsidise its agriculture similar to India, it can at least put regulatory duties on import to protect its vulnerable agriculture sector,” he said. He added the policymakers should know that more than 90 percent of the farmers in the country are small. He wondered if they could survive amidst the floods of subsidised agri products from India.
According to Malhi, India had also opposed the idea of referring agriculture trade to the Tariff Commission or the Countervailing Duties Act way back in 2001, in its response to allowing import of subsidised agri goods from the developed world.
“India has the second most protective regime for its agriculture sector, which is the reason why our exports to India in the last 17 years remained negligible,” he said, adding the ministries should strive to protect the agriculture.