Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday assured farmers that the government would not allow any cartel or mafia to exploit them.
“As there is a difference between profit and profiteering, the government will protect you from the exploitation of cartels and mafias," the premier assured representatives of growers in an interactive session held at the PM House.
“The country's socio-economic progress is linked to the development of the agricultural and industrial sectors,” he added.
“Nations, which did not follow the rule of law and justice, were unable to progress.”
The prime minister referred to a saying of Hazrat Ali (RA) that “a system of injustice cannot survive”.
He noted that despite a rise in sugar prices, growers of sugarcane in the past did not even receive the support price due to cartelisation of the industry, which sold the commodity at higher rates and did not pay its due taxes.
The prime minister said his 25 years of struggle had been against corruption and corrupt rulers.
“It is unfortunate that the rulers in developing countries or the third world indulge n corruption and stashed peoples' resources abroad,” he maintained.
“When people come in politics and eventually to power for corruption, then the country cannot achieve development.”
The premier mentioned the investigation initiated by the present government against the sugar mafia through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
“They [sugar mafia] have even started threatening the FIA of further a increase in the price of sugar.”
He said as the country would progress with the development and promotion of the farm sector, the government would ensure the payment of support price to the growers of all commodities.
“It is due to the government's policies that except cotton, the country achieved record production of various crops including wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane this year, bringing prosperity to rural areas.”
He assured the farmers that the government would take all measures for the development and promotion of agricultural sector including its modernisation with the cooperation of China.
“The development of the agricultural sector on modern lines has been made part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” he told farmers.
He further said the government would work on the duty-free import of agricultural equipment and tools from China and benefit from their expertise to develop our livestock sector as well.
The prime minister assured the farmers' representatives that he and his team would continue to interact with them.
The farmers appreciated the prime minister for his intervention, which led to the passage of the Sugar Factories Control (Amendment) Act 2021 by the Punjab Assembly, giving a direct benefit of Rs80 to Rs90 billion to sugarcane growers in the province.
They said no government or leader in the past had made so much efforts to protect the interests of growers.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry, National Food Security Minister Syed Fakhar Imam, Minster of State for Information Farrukh Habib, and Special Assistants to PM Jamshed Cheema and Dr Shahbaz Gill were also present on the occasion. APP