India’s MFN status suicidal for Pak farmers | Pakistan Today

India’s MFN status suicidal for Pak farmers

Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) has warned that if decision to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India is implemented without taking farmers’ bodies on board, growers will be compelled to physically block imports of Agri-products from India to safeguard the interest of the Pakistani farming community.
This warning was issued at a specially convened meeting presided by Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Vice Chairman FAP where all the FAP directors showed serious concerns against this.
Analysing the affects of the implementation of MFN decision to India, FAP President Tariq Bucha said here on Monday, that FAP members believe that the government’s decision to give India the MFN status is unilateral and a step in a hurry without considering the pros and cons. Federal government should not take and implement this decision without consulting the provinces. Pakistan‘s internal situation, economy and specially Agriculture sector is not capable of competing with Indian products. The agriculture sector has always remained neglected and suffered from a lack of investment by the Government of Pakistan while India has always given intense importance to its agriculture sector augmented by various subsidy and other incentives, the meeting observed.
Urea is the only agricultural input in Pakistan which is partially subsidised while India is giving Rs30 billion (Indian) to subsidise its agricultural inputs. By allocating only few billions, no importance is given to the agriculture sector in Pakistan’s budget while in India Trillions of Rupees have been allocated for agriculture in their 2011–12 budget. In India Urea bag is available in Rs350 (Rs700 in Pakistan) while in Pakistan it costs between Rs1800 – 2000. Electricity is almost free in India while its prices in Pakistan have already become extremely unaffordable.
If under the MFN regime Government of Pakistan allows the Indian agriculture products to be imported not only our farmers will be destroyed but soon India will prevail and take control of our markets through various typical coercive measures including water stoppages, resulting in eventual famine like situation in Pakistan, the meeting claimed.
It will also affect our industry as well and already the existing high ratio of unemployment will rise by manifolds. Latest statistics show that there is 18 per cent unemployment in our country (factually it is much higher).
If we open the doors of trade with India, the FAP president warned that day is not far when our labour will go to Chandigarh and Amritsar for employment as there will be no employment opportunity available on our side besides encouraging increase in crime such as theft, dacoities etc.
If agriculture turns unviable it will force farmers to convert land to non-agricultural use leading to closure of factories shrinking markets and become deserted. The traders who feel delighted on trade with India through MFN status, should think about where will they sell their products, and to whom as customers will have empty pockets, FAP warned.
If the government of Pakistan is serious to give the status of most favorite nation to India, it must first of all do its due homework. Work on WTO rules must be completed first. It should read carefully the infrastructure of Indian and Pakistan’s agriculture sector, consult farmer’s organizations in Pakistan and after due diligence and full preparation take such decision.
FAP is not against trade with any country especially with India but without rules, equal opportunity and the consensus with the stake holders i.e. farming organisations such as FAP MFN status to India will be detrimental.
The much trumpeted 18th amendment had in fact caused great damage to Pakistan agriculture. No one knows by whom and where decisions pertaining to agriculture are being taken. For example at this moment no one is there to regulate seed, and hence substandard seed is being sold in the market without any hindrance. Both federal and provincial governments are totally in the dark regarding future course of action pertaining to most the important and critical agriculture sector.
Moreover, though India had given MFN status to Pakistan in 1966, yet it also imposed Non-Tariff Barriers to hoodwink Pakistani public. According to records Pakistan’s exports to India could not increase beyond 332 Million US $ since 1996-97.While on the other hand without MFN status to India exports to Pakistan have increased manifolds i.e. from $158 Million to $2334 Million during the same period.
President Farmers Associates Pakistan Tariq Bucha further added that if the government does not take the farmers on board they will be compelled to take measures – including physically blocking the imports of agricultural products from India – to safeguard the interest of the farming community and the people of Pakistan.

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  1. Muhammad said:

    Good analysis, there is really a need to take on board our farmers, and industrialists before final arrangements for trade are made with India. Although India is a big market with a vast potential for Pakistani exports, but this would only be possible once we have higher export ratio than that of India.

  2. Javed Tariq said:

    Not a convincing statement . Indian market is large where as Pakistan is a small market. Indian agri yield is much better than Pakistani out put especially per are wheat and cotton yield. The land is same , climate is same– the question arises why our farmer is unable to produce close to what the Indian farmer can? Bcz of better techniques , support from government national interst. We should not be afraid rather open to challenges and meet them with courage and openness.

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