Around 12000 vehicles stuck amid sugarcane farmer’s protest – Daily Times

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Karachi: Exporters of Kinnow and other perishable goods have sought governments’ intervention to save commodities worth billions of rupees stuck up near Ranipur due to an ongoing protest of sugarcane growers.

Goods transporters on Monday claimed that around 12,000 vehicles have been stuck due to the protests in Sindh. “The protestors have blocked roads with tractor trolleys and sugarcane making it impossible for transporters to move due to huge traffic jams”, Noor Khan Niazi, President, Sindh Goods Carriers Association told Daily Times.

Waheed Ahmed, Vice President of FPCCI and patron in Chief of All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporter, Importer and Merchant Association (PFVA) stated that around 600 containers loaded with Kinnow worth Rs 1 billion have been stuck up due to the protests. “If the timely action is not taken to clear the way for the containers the commodity is likely to perish”, Ahmed warned adding “already three days have gone since the containers are unable to reach the Karachi or Port Qasim”.

“The containers are loaded with 13,500 tons of Kinnow for export purpose”, Ahmed said adding that if the containers are not cleared in time the country would be forced to suffer further losses on account of exports as the export target would be revised downward.

Export of Kinnow was commenced from December 01, 2017 and the export target during the current year has been set at 250,000 tons. The Kinnow sector is experiencing numerous issues in theexport of Kinnow which led to a consistent decline in exports since the year 2014-15. 375,000 tons of Kinnow was exported last year 2014-15. However, even the export target of 300,000 tons could not be attained during last year’s season being limited only to only 280,000 tons.

The production of Kinnow during the current season is anticipated to be between 1,900,000 tons to 2,000,000 tons.

“The decline in export of Kinnow can be attributed to a lack of interest on the part of the Government of Punjab, high cost of production, stiff competition and various trade barriers imposed by Iran, Europe and Russia”, Ahmed said.

Attaining a export target of 250,000 tons during the current season would largely depend upon favourable weather conditions and political stability in the country while frequent set-ins processions and protest movements would have bad impact on trade activitiesand it’s likely continuation during the current export season of kinnow would make it quite difficult to achieve the desired export target, Ahmed feared.
So far more than 20,000 tons of kinnow have been exported to Russia, Dubai ,Philippine, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Saudi Arab , Canada , Mauritius ,Bangladesh, Malaysia ,Sri Lanka and UAE, Ahmed said cautioning that if the current blockade of goods carriers continues the farmers would suffer huge financial losses.

It is pertinent to note that protest demonstrations being staged by farmers in parts of Sindh in large number against the low price of sugarcane and delay in crushing of sugarcane in the province by the mills.

However, on Monday, Abdul Majeed Nizamani, President of Sindh Abadgar Board- after a meeting with the provincial minister- said that farmers were assured that any viable solution to the issue would be sorted out within two days.

“After a passage of the deadline we will be free to decide about our future course that may include continuation of strikes”, Nizamani asserted.

Published in Daily Times, January 2nd 2018.

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