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SGA calls on govt to revert paddy cultivation ban

By Our Correspondent
March 25, 2021

HYDERABAD: Sindh growers have strongly opposed the government decision to ban paddy cultivation on the left bank of the River Indus, including Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts.

Sindh Growers Alliance (SGA) President Nawab Zubair Talpur during a meeting with representatives from all districts said the government’s ban on paddy cultivation in these areas was unjustified. These districts have a long history of producing paddy, but receive water in irrigation canals and watercourses only for six months.

The SGA leader pointed out that water scarcity led to difficulty in cultivating traditional crops, which also was a threat to food security.

He demanded the government to take the decision back and allow farmers in the three districts to continue producing rice, so they could have enough food to avoid food insecurity.

The growers also demanded strict vigilance in wheat procurement process to ensure proper rates set by the authorities.

Talpur said spike in fertiliser prices spread a wave of anger among farmers in the entire country. DAP price has jumped from Rs2,500/bag to Rs5,600/bag, and Urea from Rs1,200/bag to Rs1,800/bag.

The government has also stopped giving subsidy on installing tube wells, despite an increase of Rs17/unit in tariff.

SGA also extended support to Pakistan Kisan Itehad (PKI), Punjab for its “Tractor March” scheduled on March 31, 2021. The march would attract a large number of farmers from across the country to demand withdrawal of unnecessary restrictions, to call for reverting back the price increase on fertiliser, and to restore subsidy on tube wells.

Pointing to the lack of an agriculture policy and continuous ill-treatment of the people associated with the sector, Talpur said farmers were experiencing loss due to increasing cost on cultivation. Prices of fertilisers, seeds and water had all gone up, and water availability has become uncertain in some areas, all of which were contributing to the rise in cost of cultivation, he added.