Government urged to announce ‘issue price’ of wheat

Stakeholders related to agriculture sector including growers, sharecroppers, researchers, and lawyers here on Wednesday demanded the government to declare the agriculture as industry and provide all incentives like industries such as easy access to banking loans.

Discussing at a dialogue on "How to regulate relationship between tenants and landlords: Understanding Sindh Tenancy Act", jointly held by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and Rights Now Pakistan at SAFWCO office here the participants said the agriculture in Sindh is at verge of collapse.

Senior lawyer Ali Palh proposed to strengthen the relationship between natural partners, landlords and sharecroppers, saying it is only way out to save agriculture economy, which provides huge workforce in rural areas of Sindh. The purpose of the event was to understand the issues related to landlords and peasants. Palh said neither politicians, policy-makers, legislators nor judiciary understand the Sindh Tenancy Act and protect the rights of farmers. Judiciary is also not aware about the Tenancy Act, he said. Suleman G Abro of Sindh Agriculture and Forestry Co-ordination Organisation (SAFWCO) said the agriculture does not enjoy importance within the government and policy-makers. There is no insurance policy for agriculture sector. He said the entire agro-based industry has been neglected. Agriculture product does not have proper prices, mentioned in policies. There is no incentive from the government, hence landlords and sharecropper suffer.

He said there is a strong chain at top level and Haris are being exploited and they do not have access to justice. Punhal Sario, a leading peasants' rights activist said the Tenancy Act is a valid law to protect the rights of peasants. There are big 'Jagirdaris', possessing thousands of acre lands. He said the ecological zones and land fertility shows difference within land in terms of soil fertility and level of yield.

He said the Tenancy Act was proposed and passed after discussion within stakeholders at that time. He also said they have already advocated the issues with parliamentarians, who agreed to support the law to save the rights of haris. For this, he quoted 'Hari march' from Hyderabad to Sindh Assembly Karachi in 2009, which had submitted a memorandum to the Speaker and ministers.