The ill-fated farmers usually suffer from water, seed, and fertiliser scarcity across the country, particularly, in Sindh province. Nowadays reports are pouring in from southern Sindh districts including Larkano, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmor/Kandkot, Sukkur, Ghotki, Dadu, and others (which are known as the “rice belt” where the fertiliser is in very high demand due to rice transplantation season which requires more during this season) that fertiliser is being black-marketed.
It is reported that a fertiliser bag which is of Rs. 3000 is being sold at the rate of Rs. 4000 to 5000 in the black market. The arrangement has been made in such a way that the fertiliser is being sold mostly to the sub-dealers in bulk. Individual farmers are finding it difficult to get even a single bag due to black-marketing. Poverty-stricken farmers are left with no choice to but purchase the fertiliser at exorbitant rates. The majority of farmers borrow money from the private money lenders at high interest rates so as to purchase farm inputs. The crisis has worsened in the Seraiki belt wherein in Kharif season has set in.
How strange that even the supplies from the government and international donor agencies including the USAID are also being sold in the black market. Indeed, it was the prime responsibility of the Agriculture Department officials to ensure that farmers of the district did not suffer from seed or fertiliser scarcity. Though farmers have aired their grievances to the high officials concerned but no steps have been taken to provide fertilisers in reliable prices. Who cares in this country of ours where callousness is garlanded and corruption is considered as a mark of status. Pitiably, no one has been held so far for the black marketing of fertilisers in the country.
However, it has been appealed to the president to direct the provincial concerned ministries to look into the matter and ensure judicious and adequate supply of agri-inputs and get hold of the notorious farm input black-marketeers and other mafias involved in this heinous offense of black marketing.