Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Wednesday said that the government is fully cognizant of the needs of farmers and has provided them variety of incentives to cover up income shortfall due to stagnation in international market.

“Agriculture is backbone of our economy and the government has facilitated farmers through various incentives to cover up their income shortfall,” he said while addressing a news conference in front of the Parliament House.

He said that some Opposition parties are bent upon politicking on this issue but PML-N will not let the Opposition to play with the sentiments of poor farmers.

Dilating upon the measures taken by the government, he said, in 2013 the price of Urea fertilizer bag was Rs 2050 per bag that has been reduced to Rs 1400 by the present government.
Similarly, the price of DAP fertilizer was Rs 3,900 per bag during PPPP government tenure that has been reduced to Rs 2,650.
“By this way, the government reduced the price of Urea by Rs 650 per bag and that of DAP by Rs 1250 per bag.

Furthermore, he said that the price of electricity for tube wells under the use of farmers has been reduced to Rs 5.
35 per unit from PPPP tenure’s price of Rs 10.
50 per unit.
“For provision of this facility to our farmers, the government will pay to power sector Rs 27 billion.

He also mentioned to payment of Rs 5,000 per acre to small farmers as cash support to cover up their income shortfall in rice and cotton crops.
Under this mechanism, 50 per cent amount had to be paid by the Federal government and 50 per cent by respective provincial governments.

He said that since the Punjab government had provided its 50 per cent share so the payment has been made to all eligible farmers in Punjab province.
And as other provinces could not manage their portion of the payment, so they are lagging behind in facilitating their farmers, he added.

Pervaiz Rashid said thst diesel for farmers in 2013 was being provided at Rs 110 per liter which has been brought down by the present government to Rs 72.
55 per liter.

“Our party led government in Punjab is also providing cheaper Green tractors to farmers on 25 per cent subsidised rates and price of sugarcane in Punjab is Rs 180 for 40 kg against Rs 172 per 40 kg in Sindh.
” He said that Punjab government will be providing 25,000 tractors to farmers on 25 per cent subsidised rates.
“The provincial government and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have also ensured complete payment of sugarcane to farmers by the sugar mills.

He categorically rejected the allegations of Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah and said, it would have been better if `Shah Sahib’ could get implemented the Prime Minister’s package in Sindh by ensuring matching share of the Sindh government to facilitate poorest `Haris’ in his party-led province.

He said that every farmer in Punjab has availed the benefits of Prime Minister’s package as the provincial government diligently moved farmers to mitigate their sufferings and no complaint was received in this regard from any corner.

“We did our job honestly and provided relief to poor farmers through the money we had saved by honestly implementing the development projects.
We spent masses money on them instead of ferrying it abroad through launches.
” He said that although agriculture has become provincial subject after 18th

Amendment but the Federal government moved a step forward to share the burden of poor farmers.
He said both major Opposition parties suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of PML-N whether these are by-elections, cantonment, Local Government, AJK or Glgit-Baltistan elections and now they are exploiting people to regain their lost popularity.

“But, popularity is gained by deeds and not by hollow slogans.
They are afraid that if the present government completes its tenure, they would lose once again in general election 2018.

He advised the Opposition to strengthen democracy and institutions instead of playing the ping pong of demonstrations.
The `number two’ and `number three’ parties have forgotten their obligations to masses and entered into a race to improve their standing.
After muscle flexing by `number two’ now `number three’ is also making desperate attempts to become `number two.

“But, they must be clear that people are well aware and shall not let them shy away from their mandate.
They shall not let them humiliate the democratic institutions,” he added.