| Updated at: 0851 PST, Saturday, November 20, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said steps taken to rehabilitate flood-hit farmers are insufficient at best.
According to an estimate 1.3 million hectares of cultivable land, two million livestock and six million poultry is dead while vast tracts of cultivable land is buried under rubble that needs heavy machinery to make it capable of being farmed again, it said.
Majority of farmers are unable to start farming without support while they will be provided a subsidy of 2.8 billion which is insufficient, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
He said that majority of banks are still unwilling to lend in rural areas while Islamic banks have yet to develop any product for areas outside of cities.
Therefore, he said, farmers are left with no option but to seek financial assistance from loan sharks who offers loans at high interest rates to enforce repayment by threats and violence.
The price of DAP has been increased from 2700 to 3500 while the prices of Urea has also started showing upward trend. Hike in petroleum prices and continuous electricity tariff is also a major concern.
The combinative effect of these inputs will hit farmers by around 28-30 billion rupees which will make the subsidy a joke, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal. He said that a good number of sugar mills are not willing to start crushing adding to the problems of farmers.
Sugarcane was bought at the rate of around Rs 100 per 40 kg but people paid same amount for a kilogram of sugar, he said adding that delayed crushing will pave way for another sugar crisis. Government departments and regulators should review situation and save farming community from profiteers, he demanded.