Pakistan: Sindh government urged to hold meeting with farmers, mill owners

The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has demanded the Sindh government to immediately hold a meeting of farmers and owners of sugar mills to settle both the issues of sugarcane price and starting of the crushing season. The demand was made at a meeting here on Sunday of the farmers' lobbying group which was chaired by SCA vice president Dr Syed Shahnawaz Shah.

The farmers' representatives from Karachi, Sukkur, Sanghar, Ghotki and other districts attended the meeting through the video link. The meeting demanded Rs 200 per 40 kilograms rate for the sugarcane crop and for starting the crushing season from October 15. The farmers said the federal government was paying Rs 35 billion subsidy to the sugar mills for export with the condition that they would pay billions of rupees of arrears to the cane growers and start the crushing from November 1. They appealed the federal government to ensure that the mills should fulfill their commitment.

They said under the Sindh Sugar Factories Control Act, the mills were stipulated to start the crushing from October 15 every year. "The provincial government should call a meeting of the farmers and mill-owners and try to resolve the issue with consensus," said a statement issued after the meeting. The participants of the meeting claimed that the subsidized fertiliser was being exported to India while the same companies were allegedly selling that fertiliser at an increased price of Rs 1,350 per bag in the local market. The fertiliser export was affecting the local farmers who had to spend large amounts on purchasing that input, they added.