ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said that approximately 75 percent of Pakistan’s export is based on agriculture.
While addressing a virtual meeting on the 3rd Regional Session of FAO on COVID 19 and Food Security, the minister mentioned that Pakistan has faced numerous challenges like earthquakes, floods, and drought, and now COVID-19 has emerged in Pakistan due to COVID-19 mortality rate is 2 percent.
Syed Fakhar Imam reiterated that COVID-19 has intensified food security. Apart from this Country is also facing locust’s infestation, he added.
The minister was of the point of view that food and nutritional insecurity is resulting in a negative impact on livelihood and economic activity.
Syed Fakhar Imam added that 20 to 25% of Pakistan’s population is living under the poverty line, and due to the COVID 19 economic activity is disturbed.
The federal minister mentioned about various fiscal package, the government has given to the public with the backdrop of COVID-19. He said that the government has given Rs 1.24 trillion in relief package. He said that the government has supported 12.30 million families amid these unprecedented times.
Syed Fakhar Imam mentioned about a multi-billion agriculture package has been approved for farmers with subsidy on fertilizers, cottonseed and whitefly pesticides; reduced bank mark-up on agricultural loans, in addition to sales tax subsidy on locally manufactured tractors.
Under the agriculture package, subsidy to the tune of approximately Rs 37 billion is offered to farmers on the purchase of fertilizers.
Similarly, under the agriculture package, diminution in the mark-up of agriculture loans to farmers at the total cost of Rs 8.8 billion and subsidy on cottonseed at a cost of Rs 2.3 billion and whitefly pesticides at Rs 6 billion were approved.
The package would also include Rs 2.5 billion subsidy on sales tax on the locally-manufactured tractors for a period of one year.
All banks, in the scheme, will enhance the outreach of farmers with a focus on subsistence farmers with a landholding of 12.5 acres.
The minister said that in the last fiscal year, the Country’s agricultural growth was 22.7 percent. He said that agriculture is emerging as a mainstream of the Country’s economy.