LAHORE   -   Former chairman of FPCCI Standing Committee on Agriculture, Ahmad Jawad has urged the administrative officers to continue measures for eradication of smuggling of wheat and fertilizers. “Farmers have been ‘economically murdered’ by creating an artificial crisis of fertilizer and thus raising the prices of the compost at least twice for DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) bag,” he said.

Talking to media on Sunday, he said in the past, a shortage of wheat and fertilizers was created in the country due to the smuggling of these commodities to Central Asia. Ahmed Jawad said that the demand for Pakistani fertilizer is high in these regions due to its quality and low pricing. “Therefore, the dealers of the commodity smuggle it out of the country to earn better margins,” he added.

He said the FBR might start the implementation of a track and trace system on fertilizer production that could also help to curb the smuggling.

The FPCCI official also raised alarms over huge electricity bills weighing on the cost of production which affected the agriculture sector.

“It is high time to take steps to curb the menace of inflated power bills slapped on farmers,” he said and demanded that agriculture tube wells should be charged as ‘one-unit one-rate’.

“Besides, Fuel Price Adjustment (FPA) must be abolished from the electricity bills of agriculture tube wells,” he stressed.

About profiteering and non-availability of fertilizers, the growers termed the situation pathetic, saying urea fertilizer was not available anywhere in the country at official price.

They feared low use of fertilizer would negatively reflect on the productivity of wheat that’s why government might again to import wheat the current year.

However for the betterment of small landowners, federal government may reduce prices of tractors, ensure quality pesticides, seeds and other required items with the consultation of provinces.

Including it should also abolish 17 per cent GST on agriculture inputs and bring down the electricity tariff for agriculture tube-wells at Rs5.35 per unit.