Country on brink of urea shortage, NA committee told

* Body on food decides to ask PM to intervene to prevent fertilizer crisis

By Muhammad Bilal (DailyTimes)

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Food and Agriculture that the country would face an acute shortage of urea fertilizer if a letter of credit (LC) were not opened within a few days.

The committee was meeting under the chairmanship of Javed Iqbal Warraich to discuss the performance and achievements of the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC). Briefing the committee at the Parliament House, Food and Agriculture Secretary Ziaur Rehman said the country presently faced a shortage of urea. Responding to a query by committee member Nadeem Chan, the secretary said his ministry feared the shortage of urea would worsen and had requested the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import 255,000 tonnes of the commodity.

While expressing their concerns, the committee members said a major reason for urea shortage in the country was its smuggling to neighbouring countries. A member, Haider Shah, said urea could also be used in bomb-making.

Intervention: The committee members decided to ask the prime minister and the finance adviser to take a serious note of a possible shortage of urea in the country. Meanwhile, the committee expressed its displeasure over the poor performance of PARC, saying the council’s efforts were in no way benefiting farmers. The members also criticised the Food and Agriculture Ministry and PARC for making illegal recruitments of personnel on hefty salary packages.

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