Govt to restore old urea price at Rs 1,768 per bag: Murtaza

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Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mahmud has said that the government is reverting urea price to the old price i.e. Rs1,768 per bag to provide relief to farmers.

The minister said this while chairing a meeting of the Fertilizer Review Committee (FRC) on Wednesday. Federal Secretary for Industries and Production Jawwad Rafique Malik, representatives of the fertilizer manufacturing industry, dealers, chief secretary Punjab, secretaries of provincial agriculture departments, and other senior officials attended the meeting.

The minister commenting on the recent price hike of urea by the industry remarked that the government would not tolerate unjustified price increases of urea. He said, however, that any justified increase in price would be notified by the government later on after consulting with the industry.

The forum discussed the domestic production and demand of fertilizer as well as prices, subsidy plan and tracking & verification mechanism of fertilizer for Kharif season in the backdrop of the Prime Minister’s meeting on fertilizer. In yesterday’s meeting, the Prime Minister approved the various policy measures to ensure the availability of fertilizer at affordable prices to farmers during the Kharif season.

At the onset of the meeting, agricultural departments briefed the forum that there was a 14% decline in DAP off-take in the last sowing season due to price inflation which means crops had received less application of phosphate component of fertilizer affecting crop output badly. The committee was told that there is a dire need to provide balanced nutrients to the soil for excessive grain production.

Considering the price differential between urea and DAP, the minister said that the government has decided to make subsidy payments directly to farmers immediately through the Ministry of Food Security and provincial governments so that DAP prices could be cooled down for farmers and this step would also ensure balance applications of nitrogen and phosphate-based fertilizers in soil by farmers. He said, however, the government would discourage the compulsive purchase of DAP to farmers along with urea by dealers recently.

The forum noted that non-registered fertilizer dealers would be brought under a verification mechanism and it has been made necessary for dealers to get registered with respective provincial departments to ensure a smooth supply of fertilizer at the district level. —TLTP

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