Provincial ministers for agriculture and food revealed their future policies in the Punjab Assembly, claiming interest free loans will be given to the farmers. They assured that the farmers would be paid Rs.180 per 40kg for sugarcane by mill owners.
While concluding the discussion on food and agriculture, which lasted for two days, Minister for Agriculture Malik Numan Ahmad Langrial and Minister for Food Samillullah Chaudhary disclosed their initial policies. These were aimed at saving farmers from exploitation that they are facing due to the “flawed policies of the PML-N government”.
The atmosphere of the house took a turn for the worse when Langrial, during his speech, denied accepting suggestions put forward by opposition lawmakers to improve the state of affairs for impoverished farmers.
Despite the opposition legislators being just four in number when the discussion concluded, they stood up and tore copies of the agenda. They warned that they would boycott the session if the treasury deemed their suggestions as unnecessary.
However, Minister for Public Prosecution Chaudhary Zaheer Ud Din persuaded and stopped them from leaving the house. Meanwhile, PA Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari directed the minister, Langrial, to focus on the future policy alone.
Langrial said the Punjab government would bring changes to marketing companies through legislation for viability and strength. He said small farmers would be given interest free loans. He outlined that the authorities had a plan to import medicine from Japan to save cotton crop from the Pink Bollworm insect for the healthy production of cotton.
The minister said the Punjab government would give a subsidy on oilseed (5,000 per acre), on DAP and Potash. He said authorities would accommodate 50% of the watercourse which once was being facilitated at 30% percent from the outlet.
“Sprinkles will be on at priority in those areas which are suffering from water deficiency. He said an insurance policy would be introduced for farmers, adding that the government will pay the premium. He said the department would focus on the zoning of Punjab to understand which crop could be cultivated.
He added that officials would work on oilseed and the government had a plan to plant around 150,000 olive trees this year. He added such a planation would prove to be a good source of income.
Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhary told the house that the last government had put the country in a situation of high debts. He added that the current regime now has to pay Rs16 billion debt to mill owners as these dues were previously unpaid.
Sugarcane will be purchased at Rs.180 per 40kg, this year, by mills which are going to become operational from Monday. He added the Katotti mafia would not be tolerated. He said a special focus would be laid on that 52% of farmers who had less than five acres of agricultural land. The minister said a zero -tolerance policy would be adopted against adulteration. “We will create the best food standard.”
Opposition lawmakers boycotted the house for a short period against the police baton charge on PML-N workers at the district and sessions court after the appearance of former CM Shehbaz Sharif before a NAB court. However, Speaker Chaushary Pervez Elahi sent two members to persuade the opposition legislators to end their boycott.
Opposition lawmakers irked by agriculture minister Langrial when he denied welcoming suggestions, put forward by opposition lawmakers, during the discussion on ‘food and agriculture’. They strongly reacted and some of tore copies of the agenda. Langrial said “we have no need for the suggestions of the opposition to decide the fate of farmers”. He said opposition legislators, when in power, could not stop the exploitation of farmers. The house was adjourned till 9am on Friday (today).