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Flood-hit farmers in Pakistan protest rising price of fertilizers

Nasir Kazmi

Press TV, Islamabad

These are the farmers from Pakistan’s most significant agricultural province of Punjab, who have been staging a sit-in since last week. The protest action is against the imposition of agrarian taxes and the increase of electricity tariffs by the government, which they say, have badly hit their income.

The farmers, who have been protesting since last week in Islamabad’s Blue Area, are asking the government to waive the taxes recently imposed on tube well electricity and fertilizers.

The farmers have warned that they will block off the main roads countrywide if their demands are not met.

They are also seeking an end to what they call black marketing of fertilizers and a reduction of the urea rate, which has risen by 400 percent in recent days.

The government considers agriculture a provincial subject, so it refrains from addressing farmers’ major issues; however authorities are in contact with relevant stakeholders to alleviate the farmers’ concerns.

The devastating floods, which have left more than 1,600 Pakistanis dead and displaced over 33 million people, have added to Pakistan's forex woes, with an estimated economic loss of over $30 billion. Although, the International Monetary Fund recently agreed to release over $1.1 billion in funds to Pakistan, the economic situation remains precarious in the flood-hit country.

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