Staff ReporterFriday, December 27, 2013 - Lahore—Black-marketers of urea and pesticides are having the field day to deceive farmers, as dealers are making record profits in connivance with the government officials because there is no check on urea prices. The urea bag of Rs1,700 is being sold at Rs2,050 in nine districts of Southern Punjab and four districts of Central Punjab.
Agri Forum Pakistan President Ibrahim Mughal said this unjustifiable increase of Rs 350 per urea bag is adding to the input cost of the growers while at certain places farmers are being forced to buy DAP fertilizer also along with urea. Mughal blamed the government agency that it is not taking any step to check the black marketing of agriculture inputs and the poor farmers left at the mercy of the dealers. He added that no government has made any effort to safeguard the interest of farmers who provide food security to the nation and raw material to its agro-based industries, although the agriculture sector is a solid buyer of Rs 500 billion inputs including fertilizers worth Rs200 billion every year.
He said that he had received complaints from the 13 districts heads of his organisation who said hoarders and urea manufacturing companies increased the price taking advantage of its shortage. On one side, the government is unable to control the input cost for the farmers but on the other side it is forcing the farmers to sell their produce at lesser price in the market.
The government had advertised the fertilizers prices mentioning that nobody should buy urea fertilizer beyond that price but on ground situation is different. Black marketers play on the demand and supply formula and they create shortage when the fertilizer is needed the most like it is now at the start of wheat season.
Most of the farmers have no option but to buy urea at a higher rate because if they don’t pay the demanded price they won’t be able to use ferlizer on their crops and will suffer in terms of production. He regretted that the Chief Minister Punjab and other members of the ruling party are just offering lip service on this important issue while the situation on ground is very worse for the growers.