LARKANA: The paddy growers have threatened to stage a sit-in in front of the residence of Sindh Agriculture Minister Suhail Anwar Siyal and at Jinnah Bagh roundabout in Larkana on November 2, 2017 if paddy support price were not enhanced as crop is almost ready for harvesting. At a press conference, Sindh Abadgar Hari Ittehad leaders Irfan Jatoi, Muhammad Ali Abro and others claimed that growers have suffered huge financial losses and demanded fixation rate of Rs 1,000 per 40 kgs. Simultaneously prices of sugarcane should also be fixed at Rs 200 per 40 kgs. They maintained that Sindh High Court had ordered in 2015 to fix paddy rate at Rs 900 per 40 kg but the order was not even implemented. They alleged that since the last ten years no increase has been made in support price whereas every year rates of fertiliser, seed and pesticides increase, which showed that growers were being not only discouraged but they were given discriminated treatment. Commenting on the issue, Sindh Chamber of Agriculture President Siraj Rashdi said that Rice Research Institute, Dokri director has determined cost of production per acre of rice for average growers in Sindh for 2016-17.
According to which gross total of per acre cost of paddy comes Rs 44,563 whereas average yield per acre is about 45 maunds. In this way if paddy is sold at rate of Rs 990.28 then the tillers will be able to meet expenses only without making any profit. The cost include land preparation, seed sowing, irrigation, farm yard manure and fertiliser, weeding and plant protection, harvesting, thrashing, winnowing, transportation to market, management and labour charges, government taxes, land rent and banks’ markup. He said rice millers and exporters monopoly should be abolished immediately for benefit of poor peasants and end users by establishing government procurement centres in province and fixing rates otherwise blackmailing of these businessmen would continue to harm the agriculture sector. Rashdi said that presently paddy was being procured at the rate of Rs 600 per 40 kg which was not only unbearable but also it amounted to ruining the entire agriculture sector which could not be accepted at all.