Sugar production estimated at 4.7m tonnes

ISLAMABAD: The domestic production of sugar during the current season has been estimated at 4.7 million tonnes besides carry-forward stock of about one million tonnes from the last year’s production.

Total domestic requirements of the sugar were estimated at 4.2 to 4.3 million tonnes per annum, whereas it is expected that the domestic stocks would further boost up during the current year.

Meanwhile, sugarcane crushing has started in Punjab as the provincial government had fixed the commodity support price at Rs 180 per 40-kg to ensure proper rate of return to the farmers for their produces, said Ministry of National Food Security and Research Sugarcane Coordinator Sohail Muhammad Khan on Wednesday.

He said that the surplus sugar production was expected this year too despite sugarcane cultivation was decreased in the lower Sindh areas.

The main reason behind declining crop in Sindh, he said, was failure of the provincial government in implementation of official fixed price of Rs 172 per 40-kg of sugarcane during last year’s crop season.

“The exploitation of farmers by the millers had discouraged the farmers to cultivate the sugarcane crop in Sindh and the growers of nearby areas of Punjab had forced the farmers to sell their crop to sugar millers as it was offering good price for their produces,” he added.

He said, till now, sugarcane crushing has not started in Sindh, as the millers were reluctant to purchase the sugarcane. However, the situation, he said, has been compensated by Punjab and the overall production was not considerably receded as targeted area for sugarcane production was achieved.

He said sugarcane production was estimated at 62.5 million tonnes as compared to the set targets of 63 million tonnes for the current crop-sowing season to fulfil the domestic requirements as well as for the export.

Sohail Khan said crushing has been started in Punjab as about 46 sugar mills were operating in the province, adding that the Punjab chief minister has also directed the provincial food department to ensure the implementation of official fixed rates of the crop.

He said the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, as a recommendatory body, has suggested the government to lift ban from the export of surplus sugar and let the industry to create place in the international market.

He said the exportable surplus would enable the local millers to ensure the timely payments of growers besides discharging the cartels developed by the exporters of other countries in the international market.

He said due to high input prices including fertilisers, pesticides, electricity, transportation and margin of dealers, the cost of production of local industry was higher than the other countries and which was unable to compete with them.

In order to address such issues and minimising the cost of production, the government has taken several steps and provided subsidies to growers on crops besides providing subsidies on fertilisers and pesticides, he added.

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