Tomato growers of Sindh always suffer of the price volatility; government should assure farmer-friendly and fair market mechanisms in Sindh to protect tomato growers’ interests – seminar
Karachi: Experts, farmers’ representatives and civil society discussed the tomato price volatility and production issues and way forwards in a seminar on Thursday organized by Research and Development Foundation (RDF) and GRASP project International Trade Center here in a local hotel in Karachi.
Tomato growers of Thatta, Badin, Tando Allahyar, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas attended the seminar in large number.
Renowned economist Dr. Qaiser Bangali, highlighted the need for an integrated cluster-based approach to deal with agriculture production and market issues. “Through market integration, poverty can be alleviated in rural areas where agri-hubs can be developed”, he added.
He said though there is Sindh Government’s commitment for implementing Sindh Poverty Reduction strategy 2019, but at the same time private sector should also come forward and contribute in the development of markets that are in access to the farmers.
Dr. Fateh Marri, Vice Chancellor Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam said that maximum investment should be brought in agriculture sector to fill the market gaps. New seed varieties of tomatoes from Turkey and Italy should be piloted here in Sindh to test new and improved seed varieties to maximize yield.
He said tomato varieties’ issues need to be addressed through effective research and development. “In every development project there should be a provision of research funds. Availability of technical manpower is also an issue in post-harvesting and trading of tomatoes. Without investment in agriculture sector, we cannot achieve GDP targets,” he suggested.
Mr. Ashfaque Soomro Executive Director RDF said that despite bumper crops each year, tomato growers of Sindh always suffer of the price volatility. The government should assure farmer-friendly and fair market mechanisms in Sindh to protect tomato growers’ interests, he added.
Mahmood Nawaz Shah, Vice President of Sindh Abadgar Board said that there are various issues in tomatoes productions and infrastructure issues in the tomatoes business. “Storage facilities need to be installed in the areas where tomatoes are produced”, he emphasized.
Ms. Shabnam Baloch, Provincial lead of ITC GRASP in Sindh said that there is need to make policy framework for perishable agriculture products, which is a lacking in Sindh. GRASP ITC and Agriculture Department Sindh is working on that framework and IT Based market portal. Industry and Commerce sectors should come forward in establishing tomatoes value chains.
Dr. Mahboob Ul Haq, MD Sindh Enterprises Development Fund while talking said there is huge potential of establishing tomatoes industry and the SEDF can support in accessing subsidy.
Prof Ismail Kumbhar, Ex Chief Secretary Subhan Memon, Dr. Tanvir Fatima from SAU, Mohsan Soomro of ITC and farmers also spoke.