MUZAFFARGARH: The minimum rate fixed by the government for buying sugar cane is Rs180 per 40kgs. The current rate being offered by the sugar mills is Rs158 per 40kgs. A few weeks ago, the issue received some coverage and it was reported by the media that farmers had blocked the National Highway to protest over the matter. Then after a couple of days no significant coverage was given to the issue by the media other than the reports that PTI workers protested in support of the farmers in Karachi and that the chief minister of Sindh and the Competition Commission of Pakistan have taken notice of it.
The average farmer neither has the means nor the social status to raise his voice by means beyond those of blocking the National Highway for a few hours. I believe that is where an impartial and free media is supposed to play its part in raising awareness on behalf of poor people such as these farmers. Anyone aware of the workings of the agriculture department and its policies knows how crucial this issue is, but it is only these 10 million or so farmers who actually suffer the most.
Their tragedy is of their voice and the protests going unheard. That is where the media is requested to play its part in covering this issue so that the sugar mill mafia is held accountable for exploiting the poor.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2018.