ISLAMABAD: Considering fertilizer prices and availability as central to Pakistan’s food security and farmer’s productivity, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar has take notice of availability and pricing trend of different fertilizer products particularly DAP and urea.
The national speaker was chairing a meeting of the National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products on Monday where all the stakeholders were invited. He highlighted that the farmers complain that continuous surge in fertilizer prices has rendered farming unsustainable and non-competitive for the poor farmers.
Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the committee about fertilizer prices, availability and cost of production. He stated that the surge in prices is not reasonable and the profit margin for the fertilizer industry is quite high.
Sharing figures pertaining to cost of production, he highlighted that in the last one year alone fertilizer prices have been revised almost five times.
The officials of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, representatives of provincial agriculture departments and members of the committee emphatically stressed on the need for rationalising fertilizer prices.
Several members pointed out that the fertilizer manufacturers collect Rs400 per bag of urea from farmers on account of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) while the same is not passed on to the government.
The representatives of the fertilizers industry maintained that several misconceptions are circulated that fertilizers industry has accumulated massive profits at the cost to farmers and such misconceptions need to be addressed.
They stated that the increase in gas prices, GST, inflation, Value Addition Tax were the principal reasons for increase in fertilizers prices. They further maintained that the fertilizers industry has passed on more benefits to the farmers than what the industry receives from the government.
The Ministry of National Food Security and members of the committee disagreed with the views of the representatives of the fertilizer industry.
The members maintained that consistent increases in input prices have rendered agriculture noncompetitive and that the government regulatory agencies and relevant department should play a vibrant role to ensure cheaper inputs to farmers.
Speaker National Assembly referred the matter to the fertilizer review committee of the Ministry of Industries and Production to immediately convene a meeting with the fertilizer industry and reach a logical conclusion for the rationalisation of fertilizer prices.
MNA Syed Fakhar Imam stressed that rationalisation of the prices should no longer be delayed as any undue delay may endanger the country’s national food security.