Lahore : The President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, Khalid Mahmood Khokhar, held a press conference in Lahore whereby he stated that Pakistani farmers are currently waiting in long queues to receive the urgently required fertilizer for Rabi crops. While sowing of cotton has already started in Sindh and Punjab, two major fertilizer plants in the Country remain closed since January 1, 2023. He stated that Pakistan’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, with $24 billion of the country’s $31 billion in revenue generated from the sector. Unfortunately, no political party or government has taken any significant steps to promote agricultural development across the Country.
Mr Khokhar demanded that the Petroleum Ministry should immediately provide gas to the closed fertilizer plants so that farmers can obtain urea at reasonable prices. He also expressed concern that the country may face a shortage of 700 million tons of urea this year. The total demand for urea is roughly 6.8 million tons, and both plants can provide around 650 million tons of urea from March 15 to December 31.
Mr Khokhar also added that with consistently rising cost of production for farmers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to compete with neighboring countries that subsidize the same costs for agricultural inputs. He stated that during the COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture was the only sector that helped feed the Pakistani people, thanks to the blessings of Allah Almighty. While all other sectors were closed, agriculture played an essential role in providing sustenance to the nation. He highlighted that around 18 million acres of land can be brought under cultivation to ensure food security of the country while this untapped potential can also contribute around USD 34 billion to the National GDP.