LAHORE - Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed the authorities to ensure payment to the sugarcane growers by September 10 next.

Addressing a video conference from London on Monday, the chief minister directed the concerned departments to launch a vigorous campaign against the sale of spurious pesticides and fertilizers.

He further ordered the authorities to hold a kissan (farmers) conference in the current month to motivate the farmers about the use of latest technology and equipment in cultivation.

The conference also entertained various proposals for the uplift of the farmers, protection of their interests and development of agriculture sector.

Shahbaz Sharif vowed to protect interests of the cultivators while laying stress on the timely payments to the sugarcane growers.

He said, “Agriculture is the backbone of national economy and there is a need for taking short, medium and long term measures for the development of this sector.”

“There is a need for introducing changes of basic nature for the uplift of agriculture and livestock sectors while Extension Wing of Agriculture Department will also have to play an effective role.”

He said the heinous trade of spurious pesticides will have to be checked.

The CM also directed the concerned authorities to initiate stern action against the sugar mills not making timely payments to the cultivators. “Payments to the sugarcane growers should be ensured till September 10,” he ordered.

He appreciated the proposal of setting up agriculture commission in Punjab and said that besides authorities of Punjab government representatives of farmers, agri experts and all stakeholders should be included in the commission.

“Such persons should be the members of this commission who are capable of resolving the problems of agriculture sector and providing guidance for the development of agriculture sector in the real sense.

“Use of modern technology is of vital importance for increasing per acre agri production and modern technology and methods will have to be adopted for this purpose.”

Shahbaz Sharif further directed that immediate measures should be taken for the provision of quality seed to the cultivators.