Cut interest rate on agri loans

Cut interest rate on agri loans

AGRICULTURE sector, the backbone of the country’s economy, indeed deserves to be put at the centre of national development strategy. Speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah very pertinently highlighted the woes of small farmers saying the interest rate on agri loans is very high when compared with the ones given to the industries. Therefore, it should be reduced to two to three percent.
Though Pakistan Peoples Party is always criticized for not showing any worthwhile performance in its last tenure and failed to cope with major challenges including that of energy shortages but the party deserves the credit for taking some very important steps such as increasing support price of different crops and starting tractor scheme in its last tenure that indeed were welcomed by the farmers. Again the suggestion of Khurshid Shah vis-à-vis reducing interest rate on agri loans is very significant one and should be given due consideration by the government in the next budget in order to provide much needed relief to the poor farmers who are already faced with multiple problems especially high input costs. Though the government had allocated a whopping amount of Rs 1001 billion rupees during the current fiscal year for disbursement as agri loans but the opposition has certain reservations over its disbursement method. We expect that these will also be addressed and the loans disbursed keeping in view the requirements of every province. But at the same time it is also important the recovery of these loans is also strictly ensured so that more and more farmers could take benefit from loan schemes. As the subject of agriculture also stands devolved to the provinces after the 18th Amendment, it is also advisable that the provinces set up their own agriculture banks and provide the requisite credit to their farmers. This will also help end the impression that any kind of disparity is being made in disbursement of loans amongst the provinces. For food security and a prosperous Pakistan, it is important that the small and poor farmers are given maximum relief in terms of subsidies on agriculture inputs. By imposing tax on the landlords a significant amount could be generated to be spent on the welfare of small farmers.
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