By Mohammad Hussain Khan (DAWN)
Tuesday, 04 Aug, 2009
HYDERABAD: The failure of the government in announcing the support price of cotton and paddy has left the growers in lurch as they are forced by the middlemen to accept whatever price was offered.
The ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (Minfal) received the recommendations of the Agriculture Prices Institute two months back but the government failed in announcing the support price of wheat, cotton, sugarcane and paddy.
It was learnt that the Punjab government had fixed the cane price at Rs100 per maund but the Sindh government was yet to announce the same.
Reports said that the cotton picking has begun and would continue till December but growers are selling their crop to middlemen and other small traders for Rs1500 per 40kg with the buyer deducting two kilogram because of moisture ratio. Growers are facing loss of 2kg on every 40kg.
Cotton production was estimated to be more than the last year’s as more land was brought under cotton cultivation.
The growers abstained from sugarcane cultivation because of the non-availability of water and price mechanism which always remains an issue. Sindh’s cane farmers are already in litigation with the government over the payment of quality premium. Sugar mills exploit poor farmers by refusing to pay them the fixed support price.
This time around, cotton growers are being exploited at the hands of middlemen as they are forced to accept whatever is offered. Middlemen have no fear of the intervention of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan in the absence of support price.
Nadeem Shah said that wheat growers cultivated the crop after the announcement of its support price at Rs950 but the government failed in announcing the bench mark for cotton and paddy crops. He said growers should get Rs1900 to Rs2000 per 40kg for cotton by keeping in mind its international price.
The market players are manipulating the situation in view of the fact that farmers don’t have the capacity to hold back, either cotton or paddy crop. Ginning factories lift cotton when the picking is in bloom and the TCP helps in maintaining a competition among the buyers.