Farm­ers wait­ing free in­puts

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial -

The farm­ers be­long­ing to the ru­ral plus flood-hit ar­eas are help­less this time be­cause they are so poor that have not re­sources to meet the re­quire­ments about the farm in­puts, fi­nan­cial needs for sow­ing the win­ter crops. The fields us­ing for sow­ing agri­cul­ture crops have been de­stroyed by dev­as­tated floods. The fields need lev­el­ing, fer­tis­ers, ir­ri­ga­tion and seed which need govern­ment help in shape of credit, free seed and fer­til­iz­ers and it is govern­ment duty to help the poor farm­ers of the ar­eas. The re­cent floods were con­sid­ered the worst in the his­tory of Pak­istan in terms of its du­ra­tion. The poor gov­er­nance and ca­pac­i­ties of the govern­ment agen­cies in­clud­ing govern­ment it­self failed to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion. In Sindh alone, more than one mil­lion peo­ple are dis­placed, of which more than 70 per cent are women and chil­dren, whose homes are dam­aged or de­stroyed, and some com­mu­ni­ties yet re­main sur­rounded by flood­wa­ters. Three months af­ter the floods dev­as­tated the com­mu­ni­ties, many farm­ers are yet not able to sow win­ter crops to meet next food needs. The worst-hit ar­eas may take three more months to dry out, ren­der­ing com­mu­ni­ties food-in­se­cure and look for help some­where else, com­pounded by the fact that the Sindh govern­ment promised to pro­vide free seed and fer­tiliser, which have not yet been dis­bursed. Grow­ers from flood-af­fected ar­eas are wait­ing for the free-of-cost wheat seed and fer­tiliser de­spite com­ple­tion of all the pa­per­work and other for­mal­i­ties. Nev­er­the­less, govern­ment of­fi­cials are mak­ing all kinds of ex­cuses to avoid de­liv­ery of in­puts, not know­ing that weather will wait for no one. The most af­fected are the small. An­other as­pect that is con­tribut­ing to­wards com­pound­ing the al­ready bad sit­u­a­tion is the avail­abil­ity of agri­cul­ture credit. State Bank of Pak­istan Gover­nor Shahid Hafeez Kar­dar re­cently dis­closed that share of the agri­cul­ture sec­tor in the bank credit is merely 4.9 per cent which, he thinks, given the im­por­tance and the po­ten­tial of the sec­tor is quite dis­ap­point­ing. In the ab­sence of both gov­ern­ments' help for seed and fer­tiliser, and ac­cess to rea­son­able credit, food in­se­cu­rity will rise and the sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of ru­ral poor will re­main poor.

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