In a bid to avoid chaotic situation this year, Sindh government has decided to create consensus between sugarcane growers and sugar millers on the fixation of cane price. Gauging the severity of the situation developed during last crushing season, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has directed the agriculture department to take necessary measures to start forthcoming crushing season from October 10.
It is pertinent to mention here that last year the growers had developed differences with the sugar millers over the support price of sugarcane. The decision was taken by the Chief Minister on Wednesday while presiding over a meeting of the agriculture department, during which he was given presentation on the projects of the department funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB).
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Aijaz Ali Khan, Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh and others. The Secretary Agriculture briefed the chief minister that last year sugarcane cultivation target was fixed over an area of 316,749 hectares while this year it was 313,437 hectares, which had been achieved. “The production of sugarcane will be around 17,500,000 tons and its yield will come to 600 tones,” he said. The chief minister directed the secretary agriculture to co-ordinate with the millers and ensure sugarcane crushing from October 10. “Delay in crushing causes financial loss to growers. This must be addressed by taking administrative measures,” Qaim said and added that other issue was the fixation of the price.
He directed the secretary to start consultative meetings with growers and millers to fix a mutually agreed sugarcane price. “I am sure that this year there will be no hue and cry on the crushing and price issue,” he added. The secretary agriculture told the meeting that Rs 6,236.778 million World Bank-assisted agriculture growth project had been launched, which would be completed by 2019. “Out of the total cost of the project, Rs 1210.975 million is for date crop, Rs 140.775 million for onion, Rs 1,812.250 million for chilli and Rs 15.5 million for paddy crop,” he added. He said that the objective of the project was to improve the productivity and market access of small and medium producers.
He said that the project also included capacity building of researchers, extension workers, producers and farmers. It was also an important component of the project to improve quality of produce to make it more competitive in local and international markets, he added.