Unleash Pakistan’s Potential in Agriculture
Imran Khan and his team from PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) promised us:
PTI’s will increase farmer’s profitability and boost growth rate; we will optimise existing subsidy programmes, reduce input costs, transform agriculture produce markets, improve access to finance, champion mechanisation and incentivise value-addition for exports.
Agriculture is undoubtedly the backbone of Pakistan’s economy as 45% of the labour force depends on this sector for livelihood. However, growth rates have been poor owing to bad policy decisions and poor implementation. Farm input costs are rising, our agriculture produce markets are monopolised, access to finance is dismal, bad practices are depleting our natural endowment, climate change is adversely affecting our ecosystem, value-addition of crops is weak and agriculture related exports are far below potential. This gross neglect of the agriculture sector, especially small farmers, will hamper Pakistan’s GDP growth rate if left unattended and an aggressive turnaround is now pertinent.
We will make inputs cheaper for farming to be profitable; we cannot encourage a commodity price increase to achieve profitability as it will add to inflation, but a one-time price adjustment may be required.
However, we will decrease costs by:
(1) Optimising existing and introducing new subsidy programmes
(2) Increasing access to credit with easy terms of repayment
(3) Sharing costs of investments required to improve productivity
We will expand agriculture produce markets and enforce an efficient and transparent market clearing mechanism to get fair market prices for farmers.
We will expand existing and create new warehouses along with crop grading system in key locations across Pakistan under public-private partnerships.
We will deregulate the seed market apart from a few commercially important seeds.
We will reduce import duty on farm machinery to increase productivity.
We will incentivise farmers to conserve water, adopt regenerative agriculture, effectively control weeds and be more market driven with their crop mix.
We will expand existing and create new markets for value addition, e.g. organic farming, SME level processing to provide cheaper inputs for local manufacturers (reduce import burden), encourage high-value exports, etc.
We will encourage private banks to roll-out digital loans for quick access with easier terms of repayment and launch warehouse receipt financing.
We will impose a research emergency and spearhead scientific cooperation initiatives with other countries to strengthen agricultural research.
We will transform and expand the Agri-extension programme to provide effective on-farm technical support.
You can read these promises in the complete manifesto document released by PTI available HERE in English and HERE in Urdu.
Find below the expert`s analysis on the progress of above promise :