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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Wednesday said Cane Commissioner should be empowered to implement the notified price of sugarcane fixed by the provinces.

Committee Chairman Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah said the committee wants an end to the exploitation of sugarcane growers.

The committee recommended to the federal and provincial governments to evolve a mechanism to have a fair, reasonable price of sugarcane in Pakis­tan and ensure that the farmers receive notified prices.

Senator Muzaffar Shah said sugarcane production in the country would be seriously affected if the growers — discouraged by the current impasse of non-payment of notified sugarcane prices — switch to other crops.

After the 18th Amendment, agriculture has become a provincial subject and provinces fix price of sugarcane.

So far provinces have not been able to implement the notified price of sugarcane. This may affect sugarcane production during the next crop season.

The committee chairman noted that this situation has been created due to bad planning of government. The reported rebate of sugar export will only benefit the sugar mill owners, he noted. The amount should be made available for the farmers by cutting down the production cost of sugarcane crop, he added.

This was the last meeting of the standing committee on food security with the current composition. The new chairman and members of the standing committee will be decided when the newly-elected members of the Senate will take oath.

Senators Hamza, Mohsin Khan Leghari, Zafarullah Khan Dhandla, Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan, Secretary National Food Security and Research, Managing Director Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) and officials of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2018