General Secretary of the General Union of Agricultural Workers, Edward Kareweh, said the Ministry of Agriculture policy for 2022 will contribute significantly to low agricultural production for the year 2022.
According to him, the policy which was developed without consulting key stakeholders in the agricultural sector poses several challenges to farming communities across the country.
Explaining the policy, he mentioned that the government’s plan to reduce fertilizer subsidies to 15% along with the reduction in the amount of fertilizer to be supplied will mean that farmers will have to reduce their production in order to meet the challenge.
speaking on PM Express Business EditionThursday, he explained: “If we look at the policy of the ministry as we speak, it already indicates that they have planned through their policy for low production at the end of 2022.
“First, the ministry on its own, without even consulting the grant recipients, decided that we were going to reduce the grant, which is not even 50%, because they told us it was 50% .
“Like last year it was 36-38%, now they have reduced it to 15% and apart from that the ministry tells us that this year’s subsidized fertilizer the amount will not exceed 50% of what was provided last year.
“So that means they first reduce the price, I mean, the subsidy level to 15%, and secondly the quantity from the previous year, and then the third, now has to do with the fact that these external factors are facing us.”
He added that the current food price inflation will continue as long as the situation the policy creates persists.
“So if today is your policy, one because of the general cost of production, farmers will reduce their total area that they will cultivate this year, because the cost of land preparation is there, the cost of transport is there, the cost of labor is there, the cost of pesticides is there, all of which have exploded, so the farmers are all constrained.
“So they will first reduce their number of acreage. Second, because there will be low fertilizer application due to the inability of the farmer to be able to buy the number of bags he used to buy because the subsidy has gone down, and because that the price of fertilizer itself has even increased by more than double, all of that put together means there will be low output and then the aggregate will have low output for 2022,” he said .