Farm inputs: need for
village sale centres
in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa have demanded of the government to
provide them with easy and timely access to agriculture
inputs so that they may sow the next crop.
“With thousands of tons of wheat and maize seeds having been
washed away by recent floods, there is an urgent need to
procure and store substantial amount of the commodities in
advance. We would like the government to provide these two
basic inputs to growers free of costs as they are hardly
hit,” said Murad Ali Khan, president of the Kissan Board
For this to happen, village-based agriculture
inputs/services provision centres (AIPCs) should be set up.
“Agricultural inputs are the main headache of farmers. In
times of need, they either disappear from the market or are
too costly and unaffordable for the poor growers. With the
wheat sowing season not far away, there could no better time
now to advocate the village-based setup,” said Khan.
According to Niamat Shah, general secretary of the
Anjuman-e-Kashtkaran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, farmers’ income can
be substantially increased if quality seeds, fertilisers,
machinery, pesticides and other services are provided to
them in time
and on cheaper rates.
“These AIPCs would be like agriculture utility stores which
also would serve as store houses/marketing centres for all
agricultural inputs. They will provide inputs, soft loans,
guidance and training and other services to farmers at
cheaper rates and in time. These are vital for
capacity-building of farmers and are supposed to create
linkages between farmers and public/private line departments
and associations. The centres will also develop and fund
farms. The high yield of these farms will serve as
incentives to other farmers,” he argued.
These centres should be established on the basis of union
council, Patwar Halqa or villages and should comprise all
stakeholders in agriculture, i.e. farmers, livestock owners,
agriculture department field assistants, patwaris,
seeds/fertiliser industry and bank representatives.
To minimise the chances of corruption, there should be
oversight bodies over these local chapters at district and
provincial levels with membership on the same pattern, he
“The government should open a centre at each of the 986
union councils in the province. Then these bodies should be
organised on Patwar halqa and ultimately on village basis to
cover the entire or most of the farmers the province. These
Courtesy: The DAWN
must function under the supervision of the provincial
agriculture department,” said Shah.
Every AIPC should have certified seed, fertiliser,
pesticides and farm machinery, repair workshop, veterinary
hospital, the latest information about various aspects of
farming, branch of Zari Traqqiati Bank to disburse
interest-free loans, a
multimedia workshop, storage facility and a branch of
insurance company for crop insurance.
Finances for the centres are likely to be the most pressing
issue. “But the issue could be tackled. Farmers should
contribute a membership fee of at least Rs200 per head and
another Rs800 as share money in the revolving funds of the
This should be augmented by a matching grant by the
government. This revolving fund will increase with the
passage of time when invested in agriculture inputs and
services that earns money. Farmers could also be provided
credit facility to start businesses locally to earn more
money for their families.
Revenue collected from agriculture can/should also be spent
on its development. Cooperative bank, that has been revived,
should also fund these entities once these start
functioning. Banks could also be asked to be a share-holder
business,” Shah added.
According to Khan, the seeds research farms in the province
have developed high yielding wheat, maize and fruit and
vegetable seeds but their timely and easy availability has
always been a problem. “When quality seeds, fertilisers and
pesticides are not available to farmers, they have to use
substandard, often dangerous, inputs. This explains the
rampant low per acre crop yield in the province.”
“So far the government has failed to streamline the seeds’
distribution. It has not been able to check and crackdown on
substandard seeds in the market,” Shah said.
In villages, he said, the government needs not invest that
huge amounts on buildings for the purpose. Rather Hujras or
empty houses, available in plenty there, can be utilised.
“The AIPCs will surely modernise and commercialise the
subsistence and outdated farming when expert advice,
machinery and marketing support is provided to growers,”
said Israr Bacha, a farmer.