HYDERABAD: Sugarcane and wheat growers have demanded that the Sindh government increase procurement rates of the two crops compared to what was offered last year.
A meeting of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) on Friday expressed concern over wheat shortage next year.
SCA Vice President Mir Murad Ali Talpur said wheat growers were being discouraged from sowing the crop because of the current price fixing mechanism of the Sindh government.
He said the government had set the price of cane at Rs172 per 40 kg and wheat procurement rate at Rs1,200 per 40 kg in 2012. However, this year the growers are seeking a 5% increase in the price of cane and over 15% rise in the price of wheat, which will be harvested next year.
The farmers were concerned about the delayed start of cane crushing, which commenced 35 days later than the time given in the Sugarcane Act, which says that the crushing season should start in mid-October and end in mid-June.
“We are ready to accept previous year’s rates provided that either the government reduces the increasing prices of seeds, fertiliser, pesticides, diesel and other inputs to last year’s levels or subsidises them,” said SCA General Secretary Nabi Bux Sathio.
The meeting warned of a looming wheat shortage and burden on the country’s foreign reserves in case imports were necessitated.
The participants drew the government’s attention to the absence of a research facility for cotton in Sanghar district which is the largest cotton producing district in Pakistan.
They asked the federal and provincial governments to provide funds for establishing a cotton research centre in Sanghar.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2013.