ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday launched Kisan Portal and said it would give voice to 90 percent voiceless farmers against powerful people.
Addressing the launching ceremony here, he explained that 90 percent of farmers had small landholdings but their problems never reached those in the power corridors.
“If a corrupt policeman comes in the area, farmer suffers the most,” he said.
Imran noted that all research pointed to how small farmers paid the highest prices when buying something from the market but sold their crop for the lowest price compared to the bigger farmers.
Imran Khan said his vision for promotion of agriculture sector was focused on bringing improvement in the life of small farmers and resolving their grievances on priority.
“The farmer used to work hard and take his sugarcane to sugar mills and he would be defeated from both sides — first they (sugar mills) made farmers wait in long queued outside sugar mills and they would get low prices”.
Imran maintained that he wanted to help farmers and had decided to get them the full price of their crop as soon as he assumed power. Now as a result of government's efforts, productivity increased as the farmers got the money they deserved.
“We have been continuing the same practices in Pakistan that existed in Mohenjo-Daro. The most expensive and nutritious vegetable, Avocado, is being sold for Rs600-700 here. Its tree starts giving fruit in 4-5 years. We have a lot of land for [planting avocado trees]. We have to grow new things as our population increases”.
The prime minister lamented that the country did not work on building reservoirs and dams in the past, which could have helped farmers get more water. He said there was a lot of uncultivated land in Pakistan which could be utilised.
“We are building dams and you will see we will give more [water] to farmers. It can also stop destruction from floods,” he maintained.
He said his government had taken a number of key measures to help out the farmers and said the government had introduced Kisan Card to provide direct subsidy to farmers and now a small farmer would get money directly through the Kisan Card.
Imran said Sehat Insaf Card, through which every family would be able to get treatment of up to Rs1 million at any hospital, would also help farmers. He said the government effort was to increase productivity and cultivated areas, as our import bill had increased 53 per cent in one year.
“Pressure on the rupee increased because we imported 4m tonnes of wheat. We imported sugar and pulses and the palm oil price nearly doubled.“
Imran said agriculture sector was also made a part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan was taking help from China to increase its agricultural productivity.
Explaining the working of Kisan Portal, he said calls from the farmers will go directly to the chief secretary's office. As many as 123 dashboards have been set up in the relevant institutions at the federal and provincial level.
“We will ensure through this portal that small farmers are not oppressed in any form. This government is yours. We will get you full price and will help you in every way. When we help our farmers, we will help Pakistan”.
Chairing a review meeting of priority sectors here, Imran said skilled Pakistanis abroad were a valuable asset to the country.
“Pakistani embassies have been instructed to ensure export of skilled manpower in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Overseas Affairs,” he said.
Imran directed completion of measures to increase export of skilled manpower as soon as possible.
The Drug Regulatory Authority will soon complete digital issuance of all NOCs. A comprehensive strategy is being formulated on import of waste from abroad and steps are being taken to use local waste as an alternative. Pemra is reviewing the issue of separate cable licenses to hotel owners.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed a strict legal action against sugar hoarding and profiteering and implementation of track and trace system to monitor sugar mills in order to determine the actual production volume of sugar.
“Those who make illicit profits are enemies of the poor and the state will take a stern action against them,” Imran said while chairing a review meeting on measures against the sale and stockpiling of sugar.
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Advisor on Accountability Mirza Shehzad Akbar, Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill and senior officers were present.