PESHAWAR -  Sugarcane growers of KP on Friday demanded of the provincial government to fix the crop’s support price at Rs210 per 40kg and ensure commencement of current crushing season without any further delay.

The growers warned that they would stop the cultivation of the crop from next year if their demands were not met.

They were speaking a news conference at Peshawar Press Club here on Friday.

Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter President Rizwanullah said that the price of sugarcane was fixed at Rs180 per 40kg during the last season, which he termed as insufficient to meet with increasing cost of production and others expenses.

He said that the sugarcane cost of production was remained at Rs237.88 per 40kg during the last season, due which, farmers had been faced with a deficit of Rs57.88 per mand.

Rizwan demanded of the government that the support price should be increased at Rs210 per 40kg, as to prevent small farmers from financial losses in the current season.

The KBP president further said that farmers were being faced with a number of problems due to delay in commencing of crushing season, extra deduction and recovery issue by owners of sugar mills in the province. The crushing season, he said, was yet not started by sugar mills in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that would not only delay in sowing of wheat but will also cause the low production of crops.

He also urged the sugar mills owners to commence crushing season before November 15, in order to ensure timely provision of lands for cultivation of the wheat crop.

Flanked by the Kisan Board General Secretary Abdul Samad Safi, Jamaat-e-Islami district ameer and former provincial minister Hafiz Hashmat, and Fazlullah Daudzai, he criticized the incumbent and successive governments for their failure to frame a comprehensive agriculture policy in the country. He viewed that farmers spent huge expenses on the cultivation of crops, but they didn’t get support price of their harvest in the market at the end, he regretted. Rizwan also expressed concern over the procurement of sugarcane from Punjab by mills in Dera Ismail Khan and urged the mills’ owners to not purchase sugarcane from outside district until finishing stock with local growers.

Similarly, he suggested the fixation of uniform commission for gur, which could be acceptable to growers, adding the gur commission agents should be bounded to not impose additional charges against the fixed commission.

The board president informed that sugarcane is a cash crop of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, cultivating on around 293,450 acres land in a number of districts of the province.

He said around 50 per cent sugarcane is being supplied to local mills in Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, and Nowshera, while southern districts were completely depended on sugarcane crop.

The president said the production of sugarcane remained 5361420 lakh tones during the last season.