HYDERABAD-The Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB) has complained that despite low to medium flood in the Indus river, which undeniably showed over-abundance of water, the farmers in many parts of the province cannot cultivate their crops because of water scarcity.
The meeting of the SAB which was chaired by its Vice President Mahmood Nawaz Shah here Sunday, deplored that even though flood situation persisted in the river, many areas were still dealing with 7 to 15 days water rotation which was usually carried out during periods of water shortage. The growers said besides the downstream of Kotri barrage, shortage also existed in Rohri, Nara, Dadu and other canals. According to them, their folks in Khairpur East had informed them that they could not grow a large part of some 65,000 acres of land which was in the command area in Khairpur East. They alleged that the artificial shortage was being created in the irrigation system, adding that the move was encouraging water theft while the growers were being harassed by the irrigation officials. The meeting demanded that the rotation system should be ended forthwith in view of the surplus water in the river.
The farmers also expressed concern over the financial strain being dealt with by the cotton growers saying that in addition to the adverse effects of the climate change, pest infestations and other issues, lower price of the agricultural produce had been adding to their injury.
The farmers thanked for the increase of around 60 percent in cotton production and said that the country’s cotton imports were likely to drop correspondingly and that boded well for the economy especially, the dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
However, despite the acknowledgeable contribution of the cotton farmers, they were not even being paid the government fixed rate of Rs8,500 per 40 kilograms of cotton, the SAB lamented.
According to the Board’s office bearers, the cotton growers were being paid a maximum of Rs7,700 per 40-kg along with deduction of 2 kg weight and its corresponding price. They said the middlemen had been given a freehand to exploit the farmers. The farmers urged the government to take lawful action against the middlemen and the hoarders of agricultural inputs.
The SAB also deplored that the agriculturists were also being fleeced by the hoarders charging up to Rs3,700 for a bag of urea even though the product’s approved price was Rs3,100.
Likewise, they said, for a bag of the DAP the growers were being made to pay Rs1,800 in excess of the approved rates.
The meeting was attended by Dr Bashir Nizamani, Syed Nadeem Shah, Aslam Mari, Imran Bozdar, Khalid Memon, Taha Memon, Qazi Adeel, Ahsan Arbab and other office bearers and members of the SAB.