Govt assures cotton growers of fair prices

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Thursday that there was an unprecedented focus on the growth of agriculture sector, as the incumbent government not only sees the agriculture as the engine for economic growth but has also allocated vast sums for the sector’s development.

“Only last week, the government approved projects worth Rs250 billion for the uplift of the agriculture sector. The aim of these projects is to enhance crop productivity and improve the means and resources for better farming,” the adviser said while talking to various stakeholders, including the office-holders of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) and Kissan Itehad.

The meeting discussed ways to ensure competitive cotton prices for farmers in the coming season.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh said that the government was fully aware of the difficulties being faced by the cotton growers, adding that fair prices for farmers would not only reduce their production cost but would also encourage them to use more inputs and increase the crop area for enhanced productivity.

“The government is actively considering various options and hopefully we have an arrangement which can address the concerns of cotton growers and helps them fetch good prices for their produce,” he maintained.

The adviser asked the APTMA, PCGA and other stakeholders to hold regular meetings with the FBR officials. He also directed the commerce ministry to discuss the farmers’ issues and finalise realistic proposals within the next few days to help the government take a decision that could address the concerns of all stakeholders, particularly the cotton growers.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, National Food Security & Research Minister Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan and Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, and senior officials of Finance Division were also present.

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