The prime minister’s Kissan package has hit snags in Chakwal and other areas of the Potohar region as it has been turned into a ‘fertiliser and seed dealers’ package’ in the area.
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Under the Rs341 billion package, the price of fertiliser has been reduced by Rs500 per bag to provide relief to small farmers. The government has put aside Rs20 billion for the fertiliser subsidy alone.
District Officer (DO) Agriculture Rai Mohammad Yasin told Dawn that the local administration held a meeting with farmers and fertiliser dealers a couple of weeks ago in which the prices of different brands of fertilisers and seeds were fixed. “We have fixed the price of DAP at Rs3,404 per 50kg bag,” the DO added. Under the subsidy, the DAP is supposed to be sold at Rs3,404 per bag. However, in Chakwal it is still available at Rs3,600 and the other brands at Rs150 to Rs200 higher than the officially fixed rates.” The DAP brand of fertiliser is considered necessary for a bumper yield but due to its high price most of the small farmers are unable to buy it. “I bought DAP at the rate of Rs3,600 per 50 kg bag,” Ejaz Hussain, a farmer, told Dawn.
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Mohammad Husnain, another farmer from Miswal village, also said he bought a DAP bag for Rs3,600. “Under the consumer rights, a shopkeeper is bound to display the price list of all the items, but there is not a single fertiliser dealer in Chakwal who abides by this rule. The law also binds a shopkeeper to give a certified receipt to the customers mentioning the items they bought and their prices,” added Mohammad Hanif, another farmer. Talking to Dawn, the president of Kissan Board Chakwal chapter, Qazi Saqib Naveed, expressed his resentment over the inability of the district administration to implement its orders. Though I am the district president of Kissan Board, I do not know when a joint meeting of farmers and fertiliser dealers was held with the concerned officials of the district administration. If they convened any meeting, I was not invited,” he maintained.