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PESHAWAR: Representatives of the farmers’ community have demanded of the government to implement a Supreme Court decision regarding fixation of sugarcane price, and ensure supply of irrigation water from the Warsak Dam through the lift irrigation system.

The demand was made at a meeting held here on Saturday. The participants expressed concern over the delay in payment of sugarcane dues and urged the government to take action against owners of different sugar mills.

Rashid Khan, a growers’ representative, later told Dawn that the farmers in different villages along the Charsadda Road were facing serious problems due to shortage of irrigation water. “During the previous provincial government’s tenure work on the Michini lift irrigation system had been initiated due to personal interest of former senior minister Sikandar Sherpao but the plan was abandoned when the minister tendered resignation,” he said.

He said owners of sugarcane mills across the province were paying Rs180 per 40 kilogramme sugarcane to growers, but in Peshawar the millers were paying only Rs140 to Rs150. He said a Supreme Court verdict in that regard was yet to be implemented.

The farmers’ leader also criticised the district government for receiving road cess from the farmers and not repairing the roads. He said growers were facing multiple problems which had caused decrease in yield of various crops, vegetables and fruits.

Rashid Khan recalled that the previous government had announced Insaf Food Programme to give incentives to growers in order to increase produce of different crops, but it failed to materialise its plan.

The farmers, he said would soon convene a meeting to devise a strategy.

In many areas, he said irrigation channels needed to be reconstructed but the successive governments never paid serious attention. He said the increasing prices of fertilisers, seeds and pesticides was another issue troubling the poor farmers.

The government, he said should provide interest-free agriculture loans on easy instalments so to the growers.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2018