ISLAMABAD: PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan Monday said the country might face food insecurity in the future in case the coalition government does not focus on giving targeted subsidies to farmers.
“Farmers are given subsidies all over the world and if the agriculture sector is not sustainable, this would put national security in danger,” said Khan while addressing a farmer’s convention in Islamabad.
He said that the country will fail to move forward if farmers are ignored, adding that “this will lead to food insecurity in the country.”
Commenting on the rising inflation, the ex-premier said that the farmers showed a record production during the PTI government’s tenure as it had provided subsidies to them. “Cotton production increased by 17%, sugarcane by 9.4%, and sugar production by 24% during the PTI’s tenure,” Khan added.
He said that the prices of petrol, electricity, and ghee had increased during the incumbent government’s tenure.
Talking about his government’s efforts to provide ease to the farmers, the PTI chairman said his government provided a Rs132 billion subsidy on urea fertiliser. “Our government tried its best to help farmers,” he reiterated.
Budget for agriculture sector
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Friday unveiled the “progressive budget” for the year 2022-23 and the government decided to increase its grant and allocate Rs21 billion for the sector.
The finance minister said agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy.
“This will help increase the output of the sector. Moreover, the Ministry of National Food Security & Research has devised a growth strategy for the next three months with the help of the provinces and planning commission,” he added.
Ismail said that the strategy aims at making farmers prosperous, dealing with the changing weather, promoting “smart” agriculture, self-reliance, value addition, and agro-processing.
He also said that the government “will increase the agricultural production to increase arable produce and increase per acre yield.”