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Sugar: pumping ‘poison

Indeed a highly commendable step by Prime Minister Imran Khan of initiating a detailed inquiry into the sugar barons and their billions.

Sugar Inquiry Commission’s report has revealed the dark dungeons of sugar cartels to the Pakistani populous for the first time in our living memory.

Imran Khan has brought to light the grim realities of this system that now requires to be internally cleansed.

Cane and its cartels world over have been manipulating systems of governance from cover ups in billions to inviting water shortages at an extremely alarming pace.

Recently, internationally available documents dating back nearly 60 years, have proven that influence-peddling by sugar cartels is not only present in Pakistan, but even in the United States as well. These documents published by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), detail the influence sugar industry giants have had on medical research regarding its health effects on multiple diseases such as obesity, heart disease and even cancer.

These manipulations have been deeply rooted in our country as well from “Benami” buyers, hoarders resulting in billions stacked in offshore accounts and brazen tax evasions. It’s high time this game of the unknown should be brought to light and stopped.

Similarly sugar industry and its sinister shady agenda is a glooming national security disaster in the shape of severe ground water table disparity that can lead to disastrous consequence as nations are battling for water in the coming times, threatening the state of Pakistan. If this continues, Pakistan will be looking at severe water shortages and an alarmingly grim ecological disaster.

World over research has shown sugarcane is a water-guzzling crop. It proves beyond an iota of doubt that the countries that are receiving the water-guzzling crops from Pakistan are, in fact, saving their own most precious resource, i.e., water for their future generations.

Our National Security is being threatened as this criminally cruel sugar world pawns the poor growers in believing cane is the best crop while it drains each and every drop of fresh water leaving barren lands for fallible farmers with less knowledge of this sinister syndicate called the sugar industry.

Although international figures show that sugar exports globally have drastically fallen by -15.5%, Pakistan still continues to perpetuate this “poison” for export. As highlighted in the report, these culprits must be brought to justice through a comprehensive policy overhaul.

As Pakistan’s economy is dependent on agriculture, our government should follow global patterns and wean farmers away from water-intensive crops.

On average, one ton of sugarcanes need 60-70 tons of water. Policies need to be adopted in order to facilitate farmers switching over to economically sound options that demand lesser water and give higher yields.

Farmers in KPK and Chakwal have adapted lucrative and environmental friendly alternatives such as olives and soya beans along with a rich variety of various legumes, following suit, we must ensure the much needed perseverance of our water supply as well the cleansing of our sugar influenced food supply. It has been extensively researched that farmers who had adopted this change received good dividends.

For the past 2,000 years Indus region’s soil has been bearing the brunt of cane harvesting it’s finally taking its toll on rapidly depleting water levels now.

Thinkers, researches and Economists in Pakistan should conceptualize ways and means to bring more alternative crop strategies to help the already struggling farmers.

By pumping poison we are not only dwindling our health but also causing severe droughts, endangering the ecosystem threatening the future of our generations and our state’s stability. The industry is a threat to national security and an a colossal ecological disaster.

By publishing Sugar Inquiry Commission’s report, Imran Khan has delivered on his promise of ‘insaaf’ for the teeming millions who saw Tehreek-e-Insaaf as a harbinger of change in an already corroded system.

All over the world trends are changing we hope this change is felt and adopted for the well-being of the people of Pakistan by none other than the torch bearers of change.

It’s imperative for the future of the state of Pakistan.

MAHA RAJA TAREEN CHAWASADEN SHAH, "Sugar: pumping ‘poison," Business Recorder. 2020-07-06.
Keywords: Economics , Inquiry commission , Heart disease , Tax evasions , Sugar industry , National security , Comprehensive policy , Pakistan , JAMA

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