President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad raises alarm over fertilizer scarcity due to closure of two urea plants


Khalid Mahmood Khokhar, the President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, held a press conference in Lahore where he addressed the issue of Pakistani farmers waiting in long queues to receive fertilizer for Rabi crops. He expressed concern about the closure of two major fertilizer plants in the country since January 1, 2023, while cotton sowing has already started in Sindh and Punjab. Pakistan’s economy heavily relies on agriculture, with $24 billion of the country’s $31 billion in revenue generated from the sector. However, no political party or government has taken significant steps to promote agricultural development across the country.

Mr. Khokhar demanded that the Petroleum Ministry provide gas to the closed fertilizer plants immediately so that farmers can obtain urea at reasonable prices. He also expressed concern that the country may face a shortage of 700 million tons of urea this year. The total demand for urea is roughly 6.8 million tons, and both plants can provide around 650 million tons of urea from March 15 to December 31.

Additionally, Mr. Khokhar highlighted the consistently rising cost of production for farmers, making it increasingly difficult for them to compete with neighboring countries that subsidize the same costs for agricultural inputs. He pointed out that during the COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture was the only sector that helped feed the Pakistani people, thanks to the blessings of Allah Almighty. While all other sectors were closed, agriculture played an essential role in providing sustenance to the nation.

Mr. Khokhar also noted that around 18 million acres of land can be brought under cultivation to ensure food security of the country while this untapped potential can also contribute around USD 34 billion to the National GDP.

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