ISLAMABAD:(APS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced a relief package of over Rs341 billion for farmers, which was earlier approved by his cabinet.
Addressing farmers at a ceremony held at Kisan Convention in the federal capital, the prime minister said the relief package has been designed in four parts, with the first part being direct financial cooperation for farmers, second being relief in agricultural costs, third being provision of agricultural loans and fourth being facilitating the process of obtaining loans.
In wake of superfluous production of rice, the premier announced that small rice farmers would be provided Rs5,000 per acre cash support.
Referring to the plight of cotton growers, the premier said floods and rains have inflicted heavy losses on cotton farmers, Radio Pakistan reported.
Therefore, he said, the government has decided to give cash assistance of Rs5,000 to cotton growers as well.
Some Rs40bn will be spent for the provision of cash grants to rice and cotton farmers. This cost will be jointly borne by federal and provincial governments, the premier announced.
Nawaz said reduction in prices of commodities and increase in the prices of agriculture inputs has raised the cost of production.
He said in order to reduce costs of fertilisers, the government is setting up a fund of Rs20bn, as a result of which the cost of phosphate and potassium fertilisers per sack is being cut by at least Rs500.
With a view that farmers should have the facility of insurance for their fields but since most small farmers cannot afford to pay insurance premium, the government has decided to pay premium for the farmers, the prime minister announced. At a cost of Rs2.5bn, this facility will benefit some 700,000 farmers in case their fields are damaged, he said.
Interest-free loans will be provided to farmers who own 12.5 acres or less land for the installation of solar-powered tube-wells or conversion of existing tube-wells to solar system, Nawaz said.
Earlier, addressing the convention, Minister for National Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan said it is the priority of the government to decrease prices of agriculture inputs.
He said steps are afoot to enhance per acre agriculture yield.