Blanket subsidy hurtful to small farmers amid growing prices

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LAHORE: Government should directly subsidize small farmers instead of using ‘blanket’ subsidy to ease impact of rising prices of urea on growers, claimed a report in The News.

The officials said blanket subsidy in the form of reduction in gas tariff or adjustment of taxes means lowering of urea prices for every user whether a big landlord or medium-sized landholder. Across-the-board urea price cut would only help large and powerful farmers, which would definitely not be a wise decision, industry officials were quoted as saying in the report..

As much as 52 percent of agricultural land in the country is owned and operated by a mere 10 percent of farmers who are large landlords.

Industry officials said Pakistan has an ample urea manufacturing capacity and ‘available’ gas. Both these assets are, however, not being used and the government imports urea and LNG simultaneously, wasting valuable dollars equivalent to Rs44 billion every year.

Fertiliser industry has time and again proposed this support program to the government. But, it appears special interests of the rich landlords and sugar magnates are more important to the government rather than fulfilling its promises to the small farmers, industry officials said.

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