MULTAN - Pakistan Kissan Ittehad has demanded the government to reduce electricity tariff and prices of inputs as it was damaging the country’s agriculture sector.

Pakistan Kissan Ittehad President Khalid Khokhar along with hundreds of farmers staged a demonstration protest outside the local press club on Saturday.

Addressing the farmers, he remarked that the farmers were unable to pay electricity bills. Similarly, the prices of agricultural inputs are witnessing an upward trend. The recent rainy spell and floods played havoc with cotton and other crops. Khokhar called for immediate steps to save agriculture from devastation.

FARMERS ADVISED TO PREPARE LAND FOR GRAM CULTIVATION IN SEPT

Agriculture experts advised farmers to prepare their land for cultivation of grams in September. A spokesman for the agriculture department said here on Saturday that gram cultivation would start in the province during last half of September. Therefore, growers should concentrate on immediately preparing their lands for this crop.

He said the best suitable time for gram cultivation in Attock, Chakwal and other districts of North Punjab was from September 25 to October 15 whereas growers of Gujrat, Jehlum, Rawalpindi and Narowal could cultivate it from October 15 to November 10.

Similarly, the best time for gram cultivation in Bhakkar, Jhang, Khushab, Mianwali and Layyah was from October 1 to 30 while farmers of Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalpur, Bahawal Nagar and districts of Central Punjab should cultivate this crop from October 15 to November 15, he said.

He said grams were playing a pivotal role in catering domestic food requirements at a large level. Therefore, growers should cultivate it over maximum space of their land.

They should also use approved varieties of gram seeds, including C-44, Punjab-91, Pital-98, Punjab Chana-2000, CM-98, Bital-98, Neefa-88, to get a bumper crop as its production would also help in mitigating financial sufferings of growers due to its attractive market value, he added.

COMPENSATION DEMANDED FOR RAIN-HIT COTTON GROWERS

The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) on Friday demanded of the Punjab government to announce compensation for cotton growers who faced great losses owing to recent heavy rains. PCGA Chairman Sohail Haral, while speaking at a news conference, said recent rains in the country appeared as a natural catastrophe for the farmers and inflicted heavy losses to their cotton crop.

He appealed the provincial government to work on ‘war footings’ in this connection, adding that agriculture department should issue an advisory immediately for the growers. He also requested the government to task the disaster risk management authority to run a comprehensive awareness campaign for sensitizing farmers about how to avoid further losses.

Insurance should also conduct survey of the losses and make payments accordingly, Haral said, adding that ginning factories were also affected badly. Rains devastated standing crop of cotton on thousands of acres in Shadun Lound and Taunsa areas of DG Khan, whereas quailty cotton in Mirpur Khas, Tando Adam, and Sanghar in Sindh was badly affected, he lamented.