Tarin calls for eliminating middlemen to increase farmers’ income by 40%
ISLAMABAD: Finance and Revenue Minister Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday stressed the importance of effectively restricting the role of middlemen, which he said would allow producers to achieve 35-40 percent higher yields from their agricultural products. .
The finance minister was speaking at a meeting with the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant (SAPM) on food security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, according to a press release issued by the finance ministry. SAPM on Income Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary of the Finance Division and Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research also attended the meeting.
The meeting reviewed the existing farm gate price mechanism and the problems faced by farmers in transporting perishables, especially vegetables and fruits, to the nearest market or first point of sale.
The meeting discussed the role of middlemen who earn money at the expense of farmers, especially with small and marginal farms.
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Tarin said economic sustainability was the biggest challenge in agriculture and stressed the importance of boosting agricultural productivity by facilitating farmers through interest-free agricultural loans so that they get a fair share of their products and stressed the need to empower farmers by offering interest free loans.
He discussed the modalities of granting microcredit to farmers enabling them to purchase fertilizers, pesticides and other basic inputs through a union of banks and microfinance institutions.
Providing interest-free loans to small farmers would transform the agricultural sector and end exploitation by intermediaries.
The underlying logic is to pave the way for sustainable agriculture by offering interest-free loans with maximum flexibility. He asked to develop a mechanism for disbursing microcredit to farmers with smaller land and to discuss it at the next meeting.
The minister also discussed a multidimensional approach to streamline agribusiness and highlighted the need to build product warehouses and cold storage facilities for farmers across the country, enabling them to transport perishable food ( kitchen items) to the point of sale on time.
He stressed the need to build strategic reserves for essential commodities.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, Shaukat Tarin has requested more time from the Speaker of the National Assembly to present the annual budget for fiscal year 2021-22 (FY22).
According to a report from a local media outlet, the delay is the result of a continuous turnover of heads in the finance ministry, as the indecisiveness of the ruling party has affected day-to-day operations.
The report claims that the government wanted to present the budget in the second or third week of June; however, opposition parties called on the government to hold the budget session in the first week of June.
They said the budget session will continue for at least three weeks and that if the session begins in mid-June, it cannot be concluded by the end of the month.