Thursday, 25 December 2014

Government asked to fix sugarcane support price at Rs 350 per 40kg

Sugarcane growers on Sunday demanded of the government to fix the crop's support price at Rs 350 per 40 kg and ensure provision of irrigation water to their agriculture lands. The growers warned that they would stop cultivation of the crop from next year if their demands were not met.

"Due to non-fixation of sugarcane price as per cost of production, the farmers are compelled to grow vegetable, fruits and other crops instead of sugarcane," said Haji Abdul Majeed, while talking to this scribe here. The production of sugarcane had substantially declined in the suburbs of Peshawar, he said adding that the cultivation would further fall if the government did not pay prompt attention to the farmers' problems.

Rashid Mehmood, a local farmer, said that Daudzai village, a few miles away Peshawar, with 50,000 acre of agriculture lands, was facing acute shortage of irrigation water and the situation was getting worse with each passing day. He accused the government of leaving the farmers at the mercy of mill owners and fixing the sugarcane price against their (farmers) will. He also blamed the successive governments for ignoring the growers in their respective policies.

"The sugarcane price was fixed at Rs 350 per 40 kilogram some three years back, but due to pressure of the mill owners the price was later decreased to Rs 170/40kg," he said. Mohammad Alam Khan, a grower cultivating sugarcane for the last several years, expressed his grave concern over the government apathy in resolving the growers' issues. "We want the government to fix sugarcane rate at Rs 350 per 40 kg and ensure adequate supply of irrigation water, which can mitigate our sufferings," he demanded.

He warned that they could no longer continue cultivation of the crop in the prevailing situation, as no one in the government was ready to listen to their problems. He said that majority of the decisions were taken in favour of the mill owners because the farmers had no effective forum. Humayun Khan, another farmer in Daudzai village, said the mill owners were exploiting the farmers by using delaying tactics in payment of dues due to which they had to sell the sugarcane to owners of the local weighbridges at lower prices. The growers, he said had held several meetings with the food minister, agriculture minister, cane commissioner and owners of the sugar mills but to no avail.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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