News Analysis |
The Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research recorded its anger over the failure of compliance and non-implementation of minimum support prices of sugarcane crop, which had been notified by the respective provincial governments for growers during the current season, in light of a series protests lodged by farmers against mill owners.
The committee, which was chaired by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, also highlighted that the minimum support price of Rs160 per 40kg laid down by the Sindh High Court was also not implemented by the provincial government of Sindh. The meeting observed that although it was a provincial subject after the 18th Amendment the federal government should play its role to protect the farmers’ rights and agriculture development in the country.
The minister had said that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, agriculture had become a provincial subject and provinces were fixing the sugarcane price, adding they should meet their commitment.
The committee foretold that in light of the current scenario the cultivation of sugarcane would be badly affected and growers would shift to other crops, which would create a serious sugar crisis in the country. The committee recommended the federal and provincial governments for evolving a proper mechanism in order to provide fair price to the farmers for their produce and protect their rights.
The meeting also asked the provincial governments to ensure a minimum support price of sugarcane crop through their sugarcane commissioners. The committee asked for formulating a proper crop policy in order to avoid such a situation as well as making the agriculture sector more profitable and producing resource-efficient crops to fulfill domestic requirements.
Meanwhile, Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan informed the committee that the matter was also taken up in the meeting of the Council of Common Interests, where the provincial governments were directed to ensure implementation of the minimum support price of sugarcane crops during the crushing season.
The minister apprised the meeting that the federal cabinet has approved to give administrative control of the Pakistan Central Committee to Ministry of National Food Security and Research, which could help enhance the cotton crop output in the country.
Addressing a press conference, the minister stressed that under the Sugar Control Act 1950, all provincial governments were responsible for fixing the sugarcane price as well as monitoring its implementation.
Earlier in January, following massive protests all across Sindh and Southern Punjab by sugarcane growers, the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan had sent out his message to the provincial governments to ensure the purchase of sugarcane from growers at the official price of Rs. 180 per 40 kg, which was later revised, in order to protect and safeguard the farmers from exploitation by mill owners, Global Village Space earlier reported.
Read more: An Irrelevant Senate?
Addressing a press conference, the minister stressed that under the Sugar Control Act 1950, all provincial governments were responsible for fixing the sugarcane price as well as monitoring its implementation. Besides, he said, the provincial governments were also responsible for making all arrangements to start sugarcane crushing on time to ensure a maximum rate of return to the growers.
The minister had said that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, agriculture had become a provincial subject and provinces were fixing the sugarcane price, adding they should meet their commitment. However, he said some ministers of the Sindh cabinet were trying to create a misconception about the sugar export subsidy and were linking the current crisis with the federal government.
He clarified that due to surplus stocks of sugar in the country, the government had allowed millers export of about 1.5 million tons and was also providing subsidy. The federal government was bearing 100% of the subsidy cost, he said