HYDERABAD: The Sindh Abadgar Ittehad (SAI) has urged the federal government to fix wheat support price and make it commensurate with the rising cost of farm inputs, especially urea fertiliser for 2023-24 season.

It demanded fixing support price of wheat at Rs5,000 per 40kg, rejecting outright the plan of corporate farming.

The demand was raised at a meeting chaired by SAI president Nawab Zubair Talpur here on Thursday.

The meeting said that price hike should be given serious consideration while fixing the support price for the grain.

It rejected raise in the price of urea fertiliser by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) and said that the price should be reduced because farmers were already not getting the fertiliser.

The SAI leaders expressed concern over the sale of urea in the black-market and its unavailability to farmers. The hoarding of the fertiliser was at its peak, said the meeting.

The meeting said the SAI did not accept the raise in urea’s price and demanded an end to the shortage of the farm input and its sale on the black.

It asserted that Sindh did not get a single bag of the imported urea, which was condemnable and urged the government to ensure imported urea’s quota was supplied to Sindh. The urea meant for farmers was being provided to big landlords, it said.

The meeting claimed that urea had been transported to Punjab in larger quantities.

Rejecting the plan of the corporate farming, the meeting condemned registration of FIR against the farmers who were protesting against the shortage of urea and urged the Sindh High Court to take notice of the cases field against them.

The meeting demanded withdrawal of cases and action against those responsible for their registration.

It expressed concern over the shortage of water in the command area of Nara and Rohri canals, which it said was artificial.

The meeting noted that the shortage had badly disturbed farmers and affected the wheat crop which was being cultivated. If the wheat crop was affected, it could lead to food insecurity in Sindh, it warned.

The meeting maintained that the desilting of channels was not done by the irrigation staff and famers were asked to bear bills of fuel and machinery. It accused the irrigation officials of demanding bribe from the growers. It said the suspension of the Sukkur Barrage chief engineer for two months raised many questions.

The meeting was attended by Mohammad Anwar Kamboh, Javed Riar, Sharif Nizamani, Mir Subedar Talpur, Zafarullah Tal­pur, Mohib Ali Mari and others.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2024

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