Growers take to streets in lower Sindh towns against import of tomato, onion

Published December 19, 2020
GROWERS hold a demonstration in Hyderabad on Friday against import of onion and tomatoes.—Dawn
GROWERS hold a demonstration in Hyderabad on Friday against import of onion and tomatoes.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: Growers took to the streets in Hyderabad, Badin and Umerkot towns and staged rallies and demonstrations on Friday in protest against government decision to import onion and tomato despite arrival of locally produced vegetables in the market.

They demanded an immediate ban on the import of the vegetables to save growers from further losses and protect local farm sector.

In Hyderabad, onion and tomato producers who had come from different areas of lower Sindh gathered outside local press club and staged a demonstration against import of tomato.

The protesters led by leaders of Sindh Abadgar Board, Inqalabi Hari Jiddojehad and Zounr Minor Tail Abadgar Welfare Association said that tomato crop had been harvested on a large scale but its price was on the decline in the market because the vegetable was being imported from Iran.

They termed the import “exploitation” of farmers which would result in destruction of farm sector in the country. This year Sindh had produced bumper crops of tomato, onions and other vegetables which could be exported to earn foreign exchange, they said.

They called for fixation of adequate prices of vegetables and other agriculture products to ensure price stability in market for consumers as well as for growers.

They said that due to defective agricultural policies, farmers had to sell their produce at throwaway prices. It was in fact the result of collusion between traders and government, he said, adding that farmers should be taken on board in the formulation of agricultural policy.

UMERKOT: Growers and peasants took out a big rally and staged a demonstration outside local press club in protest against import of tomatoes, onions and other vegetables.

Representatives of Indus Agriculture Forum, Bhom Singh Sodho, Rana Rameez, Farooque Junejo and others demanded an immediate halt to the import of vegetables which were now abundantly available in the province. The government now must export crops and ensure adequate prices to support local growers, they said.

They said that despite the fact that tomato had been harvested in lower Sindh, the government was importing it in sheer exploitation of hapless farmers.

They said the government should have control over prices by fixing highest and lowest competitive prices for tomatoes, onions, sugar cane, rice, wheat and other agricultural products. Traders bought agricultural products from growers at low prices and sold these at high prices in local market, which created inflation, they said.

They demanded inclusion of a member of growers in policymaking panel for agriculture sector and warned if their demands were not fulfilled, they would expand the protest.

BADIN: A large number of farmers took out a rally in Malkani Sharif town in protest against government’s decision to allow import of tomatoes and onion.

The protesters led by Sindh Abadgar Tanzeem Khairpur Gambo chapter president Mohammad Ali Laskani, Tariq Mehmood Arain and others said the decision would only serve petty interests of a few importers but it would inflict huge losses on farmers.

They said that crops of tomatoes and onion were ready for harvest in Badin and other districts of lower Sindh, hence the import of the two vegetables at this stage would severely hurt local production and farmers.

They urged the government to ban import of tomatoes and onions to save agriculture sector from complete destruction.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

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