A few weeks after the start of the sugarcane season in and around the city, the sugar mills finally started operating.
Following Tharparkar Sugar Mills, Digri Sugar Mills has also announced to fire the boilers and start crushing to make the sweetener. However, the mills are only paying Rs250 per 40kg to growers as against the official price of Rs300 per 40kg.
The Sindh Abadgar Board Digri district president Chauhdari Saifullah stated that "mills are exploiting the sugarcane farmers due to incompetence of the Sindh government officials who have failed to implement the officially announced rates."
"Farmers plant sugarcane in summer and harvest it in autumn so that they can plant wheat, mustard, onion, and tomato. Therefore they cannot hold on to the sugarcane harvest and are compelled to sell the produce so that they have funds for sowing the next crop", Saifullah explained.
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Sugarcane grower Haji Aftab said that knowing well the weak position of farmers, sugar mills owners are forcing them to sell at Rs250 per 40kg. He said that after deducting the expenses for hauling the labour and cartage the farmer will get Rs180 per 40kg for sugarcane at the gate of sugar mills.
Muhammad Ayub Araeen, Iqbal Araeen, and Nasir Raza Araeen said that the Sindh government should take steps to ensure payments to farmers according to the official rate.
Another grower, Shafiq Qaimkhani, said farmers are already affected by floods, if they fail to make profit on sugarcane, they would find it difficult to even meet the household expenses.
Progressive farmer Mehtab Ahmed was of the view that official price of sugarcane should be Rs350 per 40kg, a price lower than this will be detrimental to the interest of the farmers.
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