LAHORE: Pakistan Kissan Ittehad on Thursday called on the government to bring down the price of sugar, take strict action against the sugar mafia and return the money embezzled from cultivators.
“We pay tribute to the sugar inquiry commission report,” said Khalid Mehmood Khokhar, addressing a press conference at the press club. “Embezzled money belonging to sugar cultivators should be returned to them and strict action should be taken against the sugar mafia,” he added.
Khokhar accused the sugar and textile mill owners of trying to destroy agriculture in Pakistan. He said that protective cover is provided to the illegal steps taken by the sugar mafia in Pakistan. Khokhar complained that farmers were made to wait outside sugar mills. He lashed out at the Sharif and Zardari families, referring to them as part of the sugar cane mafia.
Lamenting the decline in cotton growth across the country, he urged the government to ‘eliminate’ sugar mills in areas where cotton was to be cultivated. “India is ahead of us now in producing cotton. The decline in the production of cotton will cost us $6bn,” he said.
Khokhar noted that the agriculture industry was functioning because of the farmers’ hard work and dedication. “From the agriculture sector, 48% of our labour force is employed,” he said.
Complaining about the injustices against sugar farmers, Khokhar said that in 2017-2018, sugar was sold at the rate of Rs100 per Mann when the rate set by the government was in the same year was Rs180 per Mann. “The government should implement sugar cane policy,” he underlined.
“Despite being an agricultural country, Pakistan imports pulses, tomatoes, fruits and other vegetables,” he said, demanding that farmers be provided reasonable rates for growing potatoes, rice and other vegetables.
Calling on the government to formulate a five-year agriculture policy, Khokahr voiced the demand for the looted wealth of sugar mill owners to be distributed among farmers. He called on the government to reduce the electricity cost and provide diesel to farmers on subsidised rates.
He said that the locust attacks were a bigger trial for the nation than the coronavirus.