Neglect of agriculture sector will reduce Gross Domestic Product and prove burdensome on economy: Dr Yunis Soomro
Karachi, August 05 2013 (PPI-OT): The country cannot afford to neglect the agricultural sector as it will create shortfall of important commodities and reduce GDP and prove burdensome on economy by importing the produce items warned Dr Yunis Soomro on a local business television channel.
He said the main difficulties faced by the SME farm sector are insufficient and delayed supply of water due to damaged canals, interruption and stealing of water and poor irrigation systems which are poorly maintained. There is huge corruption in the irrigation ministry and although there is heavy maintenance charged in the books as such there is no actual maintenance.
He emphasized the need for healthy hybrid certified seeds, genuine fertilizers, fumigation, good quality pesticides and farm equipments and monitoring of farm lands by the government to ensure safety and security of cultivation lands and victimization by the land mafia. The law and order situation is getting bad to worst and land mafia is harassing the SME farmers.
The other guest analyst was president of the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) Zulfikar Thaver who told the viewers and the host that commercial banks are not financing the farmers and he stressed the need for crop insurance to make the banks comfortable and secondly he urged the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to finance the farmers under concessionary rate just like the export re-finance scheme to promote farming sector which is the life line and the back bone of the economy and cannot be neglected under any circumstances.
He further added that the banks need to finance the purchase of tractors, harvesters, thrashers, generators and other farm equipment to the SME farmers under pay as you earn scheme and subsidized rate of mark up. The import duties and sales tax on farm machinery must be at 0 % to promote modernization of farming.
He pointed out that the SME farmers are fleeced by the middlemen who take huge profits from the SME farmers and control their activities by subduing them with advance money for purchase of seeds, fumigation and fertilizers and dictate them at the time of harvesting.
Unfortunately only National Bank of Pakistan and Zaria Tarakiyati Bank are financing the farmers and in many cases the banks are financing landlords under agricultural loans quota but the money is used to buy big vehicles rather than farm machinery or modernization.
He informed the viewers that UNISAME is in contact with a collateral management company of international repute and is in the process of signing memorandum of understanding with them to liberate the SME farmers and processors from the clutches of the middlemen and is in the process of introducing collateral management of produce items to enable the SME farmers stock the produce till delivery to the millers and onwards to the processors and then to the exporters and the company will support the entire supply chain with bank financing arranged by the company under their certification and custody for smooth transfers of the produce from buyer to seller including overseas buyers through efficient logistics.
For more information, Contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street,
Phase IV, D.H.A., Karachi, Pakistan
Phones: + 92 35884225 and 6
Cell: + 92 300 8245307 and + 92 321 8245307
Fax: + 92 35380642