BAHAWALNAGAR

The once-thriving trend of making ‘Gurr’ with sugarcane is going to end owing to less cultivation of the produce in Bahawalnagar and anti-farmers polices of the government.

The cultivation of sugarcane in Bahawalnagar which is an agriculture-rich district was once a popular feature of the local farmers and many ‘Gurr’ units could be seen at almost every village. The sugarcane crop dividends were then a major source of joy for the growers until a few years ago. They would get land on lease with high payment in advance. Due to the consistent exploitation of the millers, they would have preferred to crush the sugarcane to make jaggery (Gurr).

Sometimes back, ‘Gurr’ mills set-ups could be seen in abundance in rural areas. The trend of ‘Gurr’ making mills remained thriving for many years due to the inclination of sugarcane growers towards ‘Gurr’ mills. Not only it had remained a popular business activity, but also farmers used to get together around the “Gurr’ mills. They would enjoy the fresh ‘Gurr’ with routine talks as attractive tradition for the villagers.

A small mills that extracts juice from sugarcane is operated by a diesel motor and 10 people work in a Gurr Mills with six of them working in one shift. Up to 3,000kg to 5,000kg of Gurr is produced from one acre of sugarcane. The mills take a quarter of Gurr produced and the remaining three quarters go to the farmer.

But gone are the days, neither farmers interested to cultivate sugarcane, nor ‘Gurr’ mills could seen. Bahawalnagar was once popular for its special ‘Gurr’. But now, not only the quality but also the production of the ‘Gurr’ is about to end. Tariq, a farmer from Noor Sar, regretted over the vanishing of this tradition. But, he said, the trend of cultivating sugarcane and extracting juice for Gurr had ended, which had remained the regular feature of every village in the area.

Asif, another grower, said that government’s anti-agri policies had pushed the farmers to the marsh of despair. Despite the fact that ‘Gurr’ fetch handsome price of 2800/40kg, its producers are diminishing and only smattering ‘Gurr’ units could be seen now in the district.

Meanwhile, Executive District Officer (Agriculture) Irshad Mohal said that sugarcane was cultivated on 33,250 acres this year. He further said that government had been taking initiative to support farmers, as agriculture is the backbone of the national economy.