Hard times for cotton farmers.
Cotton traders have stopped buying cotton from farmers and DAP fertiliser is not available in the market in Muzaffargarh district, Dawn has learnt.
Heaps of cotton are lying with farmers but there is no buyer as traders have stopped buying the yield for the two last weeks. Cotton is considered a cash crop and any delay in payments will adversely affect the cultivation of the wheat crop. The target of the wheat crop may not be met in the district because there is a grave shortage of DAP fertiliser here but the government has not taken any action against stock holders.
Cotton traders said that cotton factories had stopped buying the crop from them, so they had to stop the purchase of the yield or just buy it on low price. In Muzaffargarh district, there are 17 cotton factories.
Talking to Dawn, farmers said that this year mealy bug and other pests had damaged the cotton crop considerably and also expensive and forged pesticides and low quality seeds had made the cotton crop not a profitable to them. Besides this the price of cotton is not according to their expectation.
In the beginning of the cotton-picking season, which starts from late Oct, the price of cotton was Rs1,270 per 40kg. By mid-Nov, the prices of cotton went to Rs1,600 per 40kg. But this remained for one week and later on traders stopped buying cotton and a few who bargained with farmers offered as low as Rs1,100 to 1,230 per 40kg. Viewing low prices, many farmers have stopped selling their crop.
Talking to Dawn, cotton factory owners said the slump in the cotton trade was because of emergency rule in the country as the textile sector had faced backlash from its foreign clients. They said they hoped after emergency was lifted, the prices of cotton would increase.
In Muzaffargarh district there is no association of farmers who could raise their voice at any forum for their rights or against their exploitation. Now as it is the peak season of the wheat sowing, farmers face shortage of DAP fertiliser.
In Sanawan, Kotaddu and Jatoi cities, DAP fertiliser is available at inflated rates.
Malik Ijaz Hussain, a former said, he had bought 10 bags of DAP fertilisers at Rs16,000 from a shop in Kotaddu and that too seemed spurious.
When Dawn correspondent contacted District Agriculture Officer Jamshed Sindhu, he said his department had no authority to check the cotton trade and also he was helpless to resolve the shortage of DAP fertiliser.
He said these issues should be highlighted in newspapers and senior officials in Lahore or Islamabad could take any effective measure in this regard. Punjab Agriculture Secretary Fiaz Bashir was not available for comment.
Tags: PAK , Cotton
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