'Centre responsible for inflation, losses to farmers'

Minister was speaking at farmers’ market to help maximise profits for growers


​ Our Correspondent February 17, 2020
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

HYDERABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's federal government is responsible for the inflation in food prices and the financial losses being suffered by the farmers in the province, claimed Sindh Agriculture Minister Muhammad Ismail Rahoo.

"The recurrent rise in the rates of electricity, gas, and petrol has massively enhanced the cost of production while the crop prices have remained comparatively low," he contended while talking to the media in Hyderabad on Sunday, where he attended a single-day Farmers' Market at the Expo Centre.

The market was organised so that farmers could get direct access to the buyers, surpassing any middlemen, often considered the reason for increased prices in agricultural products. The minister claimed that prices of vegetables, fruits, pulses, and fish here were lower than in even the cheapest markets in the town.

"It is the first time in history that the provincial government has organised such a market where buyers can directly purchase fruits and vegetables from farmers," he claimed, adding that the government would try to set up such markets on a weekly basis, in order to help people minimise their grocery expenses and enable farmers to maximise their earnings.

The minister said that to offset the harmful effects of the Centre's policies, the provincial government was also trying to increase the production of wheat, sugarcane, cotton and rice crops. He added that the irrigation network was also being reformed to bring more areas under cultivation.

"The prime minister [Imran Khan] has acknowledged that he has failed to control the increase in the prices of wheat and sugar," Rahoo said. "But the question remains, who has created the wheat and sugar crisis and what action will be taken against them?"

Rahoo reiterated accusations against the federal government for leaving the province in the lurch in coping with the menace of locusts. He lamented that though decisions for pest control were announced, they had not been implemented.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2020.

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