LAHORE ,THE Farmers Associates of Pakistan (FAP) has expressed resentment over stoppage of loaning to farmers by the Zarai Traqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL). According to a press statement issued by the FAP here Sunday, the recent floods have shaken and devastated the nation and its economy. The floodwater also washed away crops from the farmlands. Hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land belonging to thousands of farmers will not be able to produce a single grain of food this season.
The hardworking farmers struck by this calamity now look towards the government and the ZTBL for relief and rehabilitation. Adding to the tragedy is the recent policy of the ZTBL which has not only refused to issue new agricultural loans to the farmers but also backed out on its past commitments. The bank has stopped all loans for the purchase of tractors while the farmers whose loans were previously approved and the “Supply Orders” released are facing problems in obtaining “Demand Drafts” for the same. When the FAP contacted the tractor manufacturers, they said the tractors are ready in accordance with “Supply Orders” from the ZTBL. However, due to the non-issuance of “Demand Drafts” for these tractors, they cannot deliver tractors.
The FAP members and farmers are unable to understand this anti-farmer policy of the ZTBL whose duty is to provide credit to the farmers as they would not be able to prepare their devastated lands for sowing of wheat. This will result in severe food shortages for the next year besides unwarranted rise in the price of wheat. It will force the government to import wheat at a higher cost in order to meet the food requirements in the country as the shortage will occur despite government’s claim of surplus stocks.According to FAP spokesman Dr Muhammad Tariq Bucha, the FAP members passed an urgent resolution to press upon the government and the ZTBL to ensure prompt release of already approved loans besides immediately releasing fresh loans to the farmers.
Their “Demand Drafts” should be issued immediately to ensure timely delivery of tractors to assist the farmers and the agricultural sector of the country. The provision of new agricultural loans should be guaranteed so that in the coming days the rich soil brought in by the floodwaters can be put to benefit and hundreds of thousands of flood affectees may start ploughing their land to sow wheat on time. The FAP also appealed to Prime Minister Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gillani to intervene in this matter for the benefit and rights of the poor farmers so that Pakistan’s economy and the agricultural sector could perform its appropriate role to rehabilitate the farmers after the havoc caused by recent floods.