Growers face huge losses due to low paddy rates

LARKANA: The growers of Sindh and Balochistan are ready to harvest fresh paddy crop but they are facing low rates being offered by the traders and rice millers. Every year approximately 3.5 million metric tons paddy is produced in both the provinces. Due to the late arrival of irrigation water, sowing is always late since last few years due to which Chinese seed is sown by the farmers replacing old Philippines Irri-6, which was introduced during General Ayub Khan’s regime.

The quality of the Chinese rice is comparatively low; hence its price in the international market is also cheaper by $ 20 to $ 30 per metric ton. The cleaning and repairing work of over 2000 rice mills has been completed and are working in both the provinces, ready to produce rice.

Traders in Badin, Talhar, Matli, Sanghar and other adjoining areas are offering Rs 900 per 40 kg but in upper Sindh, the businessmen purchase the same between Rs 650 and 680 per 40 kg. According to them, the fresh paddy crop is wet and has not been dried up under the sun by the tillers. The federal and provincial governments have neither fixed rates as yet nor they have opened procurement centres, hence the growers are suffering losses at no fault of theirs.

In Karachi, 100 kg rice bag is being sold at Rs 3500 and in this way one metric ton is being sold at Rs 35000. In the international market, Irri-6 rice is being sold at $ 430 per metric ton. Despite high rates, the poor farmers and rice millers have been left at the mercy of exporters as the government has taken off its hand from this trade since last few years.

Sindh-Balochistan Rice Millers & Traders Association, former general secretary Larkana, Assad Tunio told reporters here on Tuesday that due to non-fixing of supporting price for new rice crop the entire business has gone into the hands of rice exporters due to which not only growers but also end users face serious troubles of procuring rice at high costs. He said the exporters have full monopoly over the trade and millers are unable to do anything.

On the other hand, Larkana Chamber of Agriculture, President, Syed Siraj Rashdi said that rates had been willfully decreased and they were not even being given the amount which they spent on the crop. He said federal & provincial governments must take notice of the issue immediately to save the growers.

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