What kind of relationship remains between the public entity – Trading Corporation of Pakistan – and mighty cartel of sugar mills on the payments issue, the core victim on either way were the sugarcane farmers who all the time have to bear the brunt. On one hand they face a lot in securing provision of water for their sugarcane crop at the preliminary stages, while on the other hand they are forced to run from pillar to post to get their payments from the millers, who are always in the habit of delaying their payments on one pretext or the other. Presently, sugar mills owe billions of rupees to farmers against their sugarcane crop, which has subsequently rendered the farmers helpless as they are unable to invest in other crops for which the limited sowing period is fast passing. The crushing season had started in September last and is scheduled to conclude in coming March but the farmers have not been yet paid the cost of sugarcane. The upcoming crops like rice and sugarcane would ultimately get delayed thus causing another major loss for the next years crops. In addition, the persistent power loadshedding, high prices of agriculture inputs like DAP, urea, pesticides and petroleum products have multiplied the sugarcane growers financial woes while the official authorities and sugar mill owners appear least bothered about this fragile situation. Farmers normally appear complaining that the expenditure of the crop of sugarcane is very high but the rate of sugarcane per 40 kg is very low and the habitual trend of delaying payments to them contributes to badly affecting the production of the crops. It has been a strong observation that whenever farmers produce bumper crop, sugar mills refuse to purchase the crop. During this season, the farmers have produced great production, however, the sugar mills did not fully crush the crop which forced the farmers to burn the standing sugarcane in the fields in order to clear their lands for other crops cultivation as they can afford placing the sugarcane crop in the fields for a longer time. The dream of good governance in the country is badly eclipsed by the lethargic and corrupt attitude on the part of decision makers who all the time get ready to pass the buck to the others. TCP always remains unwilling to own the responsibility of the crops procurement while on the other hand the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) also entangles sugar mills into issues on one pretext or the other. Pakistan is the agrarian economy which has a vast potential yet to be tapped. However, it has to end its long slumber and rise to the prevalent grave situation. Result oriented and targeted policies are need of the hour as no lethargy at this critical stage is affordable in any way.
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