ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly on Thursday approved demands for grants worth Rs 4.3 billion to meet the developmental and non-developmental expenditures of the National Food Security and Research Division during fiscal 2014-15.
The House approved two demands for grants of the division moved by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar. Among the heads for which the grants have been approved included National Food Security and Research Division and development expenditures of the division.
Later, opening the discussion, Nawab Yousuf Talpur from Pakistan People’s Party said that although the government reduced sales tax on tractors from 16 percent to 10 percent yet duty on its spare parts was increased. He urged to focus on agriculture as it was the backbone of the national economy.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the agriculture growth decreased during the previous year because agriculture was not priority of the current government. He said that despite being an agriculture country, Pakistan has to spend billions to import edible oil adding that if country's farmers are provided special packages in this regard, the country can become self-sufficient in edible oil.
He said that Pakistan is the 5th largest producer of milk and small farmers mostly depends upon their milk and meat production but their produce often wasted due to non-availability of chillers and food processing units in their areas. He said that India was providing huge subsidy and other facilitation to its farmers and if Pakistan has to trade with India then it should also give the similar incentives to its growers as well.
In response, Minister for National Food Security, Sikandar Hayat Bosan assured that all their proposals would be considered and would become part of the national policy. He admitted that the agriculture growth during the current year remained low adding that it was only due to less growth of cotton whereas all other major crops like wheat, sugarcane, maze and rice witnessed a reasonable growth.
He informed that after the approval of two bills, Seed Act and Patent Rice, the growth of cotton and rice will be increased in the country.