Growers’ body calls for steps to avert grain crisis next year

Web Desk Updated – November 18, 2019

HYDERABAD: Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has warned the Sindh government to ensure transparent procurement of wheat this season in order to preempt shortage of the grain and flour next year.

If the government did not take right steps now then no one could avert an imminent food crisis next year, said Miran Mohammad Shah, SCA’s newly elected president, at a press conference held after the chamber’s general body meeting on Sunday.

Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has warned the Sindh government to ensure transparent procurement of wheat this season in order to preempt shortage of the grain and flour next year. — Reuters/File
Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has warned the Sindh government to ensure transparent procurement of wheat this season in order to preempt shortage of the grain and flour next year. — Reuters/File

He called for banning import of tomatoes to save Sindh’s tomato crop that would be in markets from Nov 25. If the import was not stopped local farmers would bear huge losses, he said.

He rejected wheat support price of Rs1,350 per 40 kilogramme fixed for 2019-20 season and said the price should be fixed at Rs1,600 per 40kg this season and procurement target should be increased from 1.2 million tonnes to 2.5m tonnes.

Shah termed unjustified the deduction of 5 to 8kg of paddy by millers on the pretext of moisture in the grain. The Sindh government should curb the practice and fix paddy price at Rs1,500 per 40kg, he advised.

He said that sugar cane crop was ready for harvest but cane price and date of crushing had not been notified yet due to obduracy of sugar mill owners. Growers anticipated that the Sindh government would fix cane price at Rs192 per 40kg like Punjab which had fixed the price at Rs190 per 40kg but the SCA would not accept any rate below Rs250 per 40kg this year, he said.

He regretted that growers had suffered around Rs25bn losses due to substandard cotton seed and pesticides and called for ban on sale of spurious seeds in Sindh and compensation for the cotton growers. Now, he said, due to damage to cotton crop the government would have to import cotton by spending $5bn which would be an additional burden on national exchequer, he said.

He warned irrigation department to end artificial water shortage in Tando Allahyar, Hyderabad, Tando Mohammad Khan and Thatta failing which the SCA would launch a protest drive.

Shah was elected as new head of SCA after Kabool Kathian stepped down citing personal reasons. He was a lawyer by profession and son of late Syed Qamaruzzaman Shah and younger brother of central PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar.

Cane growers warn of province-wide protest campaign

MIRPURKHAS: Growers and office bearers of different farmer associations have warned that if sugar mills do not start crushing and government do not fix cane rate at Rs250 per 40 kg then growers will be compelled to launch a province-wide protest campaign.

Local grower leaders Maqsood Rajput, Nadeem Bhurgari, Khalid Arain and others told media persons on Sunday that Sindh government had not yet issued a notification for fixing rate of cane under a conspiracy against growers.

They said that cane commissioner too had not pressurised the mills to start crushing season, thereby allowing matured cane crop to start getting dry and reduce weight.

They said that this year, the mills would have to purchase cane from outside the district to run their boilers because many growers had reduced the acreage of cane after having to suffer huge losses in cane cultivation.

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