Kharif crops ? growers await
support price for rice crop has been announced while the
Kharif season has entered its third month. I have planted
rice seedlings on just 20 out of my 45 acres. I am
indecisive whether or not to cultivate more rice this
season,? says Muhammad Arif Mahar, a rice grower in
Wazirabad, a village in Shikarpur district.
Majority of rice, cotton and sugarcane growers in Sindh have
expressed their disappointment over the provincial
government?s attitude towards their problems, whether it is
an issue of support prices or provision of inputs at right
Farm experts blame agriculture, food and irrigation
departments and say that the provincial government?s callous
attitude towards the agriculture sector has not only reduced
the per acre yield of various crops but also increased
poverty, unemployment, and worsened law and order situation.
?The delay in announcement of support price has added to the
growers? woes who are already suffering from acute
irrigation water shortage, black-marketing of seeds and
fertiliser in various parts of Sindh,? remarked Abdul Nabi
Khan Brohi, Sindh Abadgar Board?s (SAB) president in
He told this scribe on phone that due to delay in the
announcement of support prices, the growers had planted rice
seedlings on barely 20-25 per cent of farmlands in Shikarpur
and Larkana districts. ?Much of these seedlings have dried
due to shortage of irrigation water in these two districts,?
Mr Brohi complained.
According to an estimate, Larkana and Shikarpur districts
are the major rice growing areas which have 68 per cent
share in total rice production in Sindh.
SAB?s general secretary (Badin) Nawaz Memon painted a gloomy
picture of cotton, rice and sugarcane crops in Badin
?As support price for cotton has not been announced so far,
the frustrated growers have started picking cotton in Tando
Bago, Talhar, Matli and Shaheed Fazil Rahu Talukas and are
forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices,? informed
He said that on an average, 3-4 truckloads of cotton are
sent daily from the cotton growing areas of Badin to open
markets in the district to be sold merely at Rs1,500-1,600
Giving an overview of rice sowing in Badin district, Mr
Memon said, ?paddy has been sown in some scattered areas,
for the farmers are reluctant to sow it in absence of
support price. But I think rice cultivation will pick up
once a good support price is announced,? he said.
?Though Kharif crops? sowing started from mid-April in Sindh
in dispirited mood, it will not gain momentum unless the
support prices for major Kharif crops are announced?,
believes Akhund Ghulam Muhammad, general secretary of the
Sindh Chamber of Agriculture.
Talking about growers? expectation for major Kharif crops,
Abdul Majeed Nizamani, SAB?s president (Hyderabad chapter),
told this scribe that given the rising costs of various farm
inputs, the support price should at least be Rs750-850 for
paddy and Rs1,900-2,000 for cotton per 40kg.
The Sugarcane Control Board (SCB) has already announced a
support price of Rs103 per 40kg for the upcoming crop, he
said, and added that in the given circumstances, it was a
Deputy Secretary (Technical), Sindh Agriculture Department,
Muhammad Arif Khairi, says that the support price for Kharif
crops including rice and cotton will be announced shortly.
He said: ?Roughly speaking, the support prices will be
announced by mid-July?, and predicted that ?the prices for
major crops will be comparatively better keeping in view the
mounting prices of farm inputs.? Sources in the provincial
agriculture department told this scribe that concerned
officials were in touch over the last one month with the
Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal),
and the Agricultural Prices Commission (Apcom) on the price
mechanism for Kharif crops.
?However, the agriculture department is still waiting for
final word from Apcom on the support price announcement and
it is expected in next couple of weeks,? the sources added.