LAHORE, Nov 25: The Pakistan Kissan Sangat on Wednesday staged a demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club to protest the alleged transfer of land to multinationals for corporate farming and permission to an American company for production of genetic cotton seeds.
The demonstration was staged after the two-day Convention on Failure of Agricultural Reforms in Pakistan concluded here. About 150 representatives of farmers and social and political workers from all parts of the country attended the convention.
The protesters said that 2.5 per cent of feudal lords owned 40 per cent of Pakistan’s land, while 90 per cent of farmers had no land. They said the government did not introduce land reforms.
The protesters said the government did not only fail to provide land to landless farmers, but also decided to create new feudal lords in the form of multinationals by allotting them land in the name of corporate farming. They said the government should review its decision to give land for corporate farming and allot land to landless farmers instead.
Separately, Muttahida Kissan Mahaz staged a demonstration in front of the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Corporation office to protest delay in procurement of paddy.
Speaking on the occasion, farmers’ representative Ayub Khan Mayo said farmers were suffering a loss of Rs400 to Rs500 per 40kg because wholesalers were buying paddy for Rs700 to Rs750 per 40kg instead of the support price of Rs1,250. He said that all this happened because of Passco’s apathy toward rice growers.
He said the federal government announced procurement of one million ton paddy, but Passco did not procure more than 10,000 ton at its 31 procurement centres located in Lahore and Gujranwala divisions. He said Passco had no funds for paddy procurement because it was maintaining stocks of 1.5 million ton wheat. Only one bank gave Passco some money for paddy procurement, while Rs500 million promised by the federal government had not been released till date.
He said the Muttahida Kissan Mahaz had decided to hold a farmer convention in Lahore on Dec 13 to seek financial assistance for rice growers and begin a protest movement against corrupt and inefficient agriculture policymakers.