ISLAMAMAD: A meeting of the sub-committee of the National Assembly on Agricultural Products decided that it would take up the issue of import duty on small tractors not being manufactured in Pakistan with the Commerce Ministry. The sub-committee presided over by Shandana Gulzar met on Tuesday to discuss agriculture growth strategy.

The chairperson stated that the strategy would be proposed to the prime minister within 15 days, hence, the committee wanted input from all the stakeholders with regards to promoting corporate farming in the country.

She added, “We need to give some workable solution to the prime minister.”

She said that the government would not be dolling out any money, and the committee could ask the government with regards to reduction in Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and the State Bank of Pakistan charges on the loan provided to the farmers.

She regretted that last census on livestock was conducted some 16 years ago, and the agriculture census was conducted 10 years ago.

Member of the National Assembly Aisha Ghaus Pasha, who attended the meeting through a video link, emphasised that something to “jump start” was required on agriculture side, and suggested that corporate sector strategy would be different from small farmers.

She said that strategy must simultaneously deal with both sides of farming – large scale farming and small scale farming.

She added that 70 to 80 percent were small holding farmers. The meeting also reviewed the livestock situation, and noted the consolidated data is required for improvement of livestock with participants of different companies, and stated that in the absence of agriculture investment policy investors would not show any interest in investment in agriculture.

The meeting was also informed that the cost of livestock in the country was relatively higher as compared to India and Brazil, and there was also an issue of quality of meat, which makes the country uncompetitive in export.