The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has expressed disappointment over the provincial government’s inordinate delay in issuing Kissan Cards which farmers are availing in other provinces.
The Kissan Card scheme aims to streamline the administration of various government programmes that support farmers while also making them more transparent.
A meeting of the chamber, chaired by its president Syed Miran Muhammad Shah, pointed out that agriculturists are receiving subsidized fertiliser and agro machinery in Punjab and other provinces thanks to the card.
“Despite earmarking the budget for the Kissan Cards for the ongoing fiscal year, there is no progress in Sindh,” Shah bemoaned.
He observed that the Sindh government’s delay in issuing Kissan Cards has disappointed his fraternity. He asked the provincial government to take urgent measures if it really meant to financially support the province’s farming community. The SCA cheif reminded that the cards consolidate recipients’ information on a digital platform accessible by all district administrations.
This helps with the appropriate allocation of schemes - the right scheme for the right farmers - and also helps quickly and reliably send information such as weather reports or emergency warnings to farmers.
On behalf of Sindh’s farmers, Shah urged the federal government to form a policy to allow the export of onion and chili as the province’s farmers are likely to come up with bumper crops.
He pointed out that cotton was being sold at Rs6,000 per 40kg before the ginners brought the price down by 33% to Rs4,000, citing rain losses.
The chamber said the government should take notice, conduct an inquiry, fix responsibility and punish those responsible for the slump in price in order to stop the exploitation of cotton farmers by ginners.
The farmers called for fixing the support price of rice at Rs1,600 per 40kg and that of basmati rice at Rs3,000 per 40kg.
They complained that they are currently being paid between Rs1,100 to Rs1,200 per 40 kg even though the same crop fetched between Rs1,400 to Rs1,500 last year.
The chamber denounced the unbridled increase in fuel prices and agricultural inputs like DAP fertilizer whose price has increased to Rs5,800 per bag from Rs3,600 per bag.
The farmers said the federal government had announced subsidizing fertilizer but instead the rates of fertilizer have jumped up.
The chamber also expressed concern over persistent shortage of irrigation water in the tail-end regions of the canals off-taking from Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages even though low flood has been declared at Guddu. “The artificial shortfall has been created and water rotation is also being applied,” Shah noted. The farmers asked the new Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro to take immediate notice and address the issue.
The chamber announced that a seminar titled ‘agricultural biotechnology and environmental changes’ will be held on August 30 in Hyderabad with the support of the US embassy.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2021.
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