xploitation of sugarcane growers


THERE is no end to the miseries or exploitation of sugarcane growers at the hands of sugar mill owners. After lodging their protests in different cities, they have now moved to the federal capital to make their voice heard and hopefully those in power will come up with a firm plan of action to heal their wounds.
In fact the closure of sugar mills in Southern Punjab has further aggravated problems of poor farmers who after getting disappointed are also asking the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Sadiq Nisar to take notice of the situation so that their produce could be saved from getting wasted. Indeed it is not the first time that owners of sugar mills are resorting to cheap tactics in order to purchase the sugarcane at prices of their will. It has also been seen that the sugar mill owners appoint middlemen to buy sugarcane at very low rates and they also do not pay cash and farmers are forced to make repeated visits to get their money. The concerned quarters particularly the federal and provincial governments need to understand that the devilish designs of sugar mill owners of investing less and earning exorbitant profits amount to ravaging the agricultural economy and putting at risk the food security of the country. It is time that they wake up to the calls of farmers while rising above any political expediency. Sugarcane is a major cash crop and prevailing situation will compel the farmers in the next season not to cultivate it and switch to some other crop, forcing the government to import sugar, which will also push up the price of commodity in the local markets. Therefore corrective measures are required to fix the problem once and for all. In order to bring the sugar cartels into their senses and empowerment of growers, the government on the pattern of some neighbouring countries should allow the farmers to install their own small-scale sugar mills. For this purpose, the government needs to provide necessary resources to the farmers. Competition Commission of Pakistan is also required to fulfil its responsibility and act against the sugar mill mafia.

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