SIALKOT

The condition of growers and dealers is aggravating with every passing day in Sialkot region due to huge stocks of rice that have not been exported by the government while the arrival of fresh rice in the markets has started .

It has resulted in 50 percent decline in the prices of rice, causing great financial loss to the growers, stockists and dealers.

The arrival of fresh paddy yields in the markets of Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Uggoki, Satrah, Siraanwali , Mianwali Bangla, Chawinda, Badiana, Pasrur, Zafarwal, Baddo Malhi, Noor Kot, Shakargarh, Narowal and surrounding areas remains unable to bring traditional hustle bustle of the growers and dealers.

The price of rice 386 is Rs600 to 650 per mound in the local markets now a days, while it had been at Rs1,300 per mound during the last year. The rice experts were of the view that the prices of the 386 rice would reduce to Rs1,100 to 1,200 per 40kg this year than the last year's rate of Rs2,300 to 2,400 per mound.

The situation is worsening day by day putting the financial crisis beaten growers and dealers into hot waters. They were of the view that the situation had now become unbearable for them, as they had become forced to sell out their agricultural lands after giving up their profession. They said that they were unable to do it because the cost of production had become too much high and unaffordable for them. They said that they were forced to sell out their agricultural land to pay back their agricultural and other loans. The situation had resulted in the sinking of millions of rupees of the investors due to the three-year aggregating rice crisis while the other investors were reluctant to invest in the business, they said.

Meanwhile, the local growers started supply of the fresh yield of Super Basmati to the local rice markets, where the price of Super Basmati is Rs1,070 to 1,100 per 40kg, with hopes that the rate of rice would be Rs1,800 to 2,000 per 40kg in the markets.

On the other hand, local middlemen Sheikh Nasir, Sheikh Qaisar, Sheikh Ilyas, Rana Tariq, Abdul Majeed Butt, Sarwar, Arif Mehmood, Jamil, Iqbal, Arshad Warraich, Boota and Ghulam Hussain said that the business of rice had been falling down day by day for the last four consecutive years. They said that the rice exporters had already stopped to pick rice from the local rice markets after the decline in their rice exports. They said that those invested in the rice businesses had been suffering great losses due to the circumstances.

They said that the huge stocks of the previous years' rice had been lying unattended into the local markets where the fresh arrival of rice had already started.

They said that the fresh arrival of paddy 386 in the local rice markets had also dropped paddy prices by about 50 percent in local markets, due to which millions of rupees of investors have sunk. It is continuously falling day by day due to lack of support from the government for the paddy growers and dealers.

Agriculture Department officials said that the maximum rates of 386 rice would be at Rs 1,200 per 40kg and Super Basmati at Rs2,000 per 40kg in the local markets and there were no chances of increase in rates during the current season, they added.