Sugarcane growers start hunger strike, demand purchasing of crops at official rate

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KARACHI: Five organizations of sugarcane growers started a hunger strike outside Karachi Press Club on Sunday against sugar mills for not purchasing sugarcane at the official rate of Rs182 per 40 kg.

The hunger strike was led by Sindh Agriculture Research Council (SARC) leader Ali Palh, Farmers Organization leader Javed Junejo, Sindh Abadgar Association Fayaz Shah Rashdi, Hari Abadgar Etehad leader Irfan Jatoi and Abadgar Action Committee representatives.

Speaking on the occasion, SARC leader Jamal Mehmood Khuhro said that the mills are not paying the official rate of Rs182 per 40 kg sugarcane in connivance with the Sindh government.

He alleged, “The sugar mills have destroyed agriculture of Sindh and have broken the backbones of farmers, and these mill owners in the province have political backing. “

Khuhro said that the mills had also not implemented Sindh High Court’s order fixing sugarcane rate at Rs172 per 40 kg besides not accepting a joint decision of fixing Rs160 rate with growers.

“It is a matter of great concern that the Sindh government is still silent over the apathy of the sugar mills of Sindh, which is a great injustice,” he regretted.

The growers’ community leaders further said that tail-ender growers are also facing water shortage for their crops, while wheat crop in many areas could not be grown due to delay in the lifting of sugarcane from crop fields.

Khuhro demanded from the government to make the sugar mills bound to give Rs182 per 40 kg as per the official rate, or else the sugarcane growers of Sindh would widen the scope of the protest the responsibility of which would lie on the government.