The country could earn $0.5 billion precious foreign exchange provided the government allows sugar millers to export 1 million tons of white refined sugar from this season’s production that is expected to be about 5.5 million tons, industry sources told Business Recorder.
The millers anticipate a bumper sugar crop for the season 2012-13, putting the stockpiles of sweetener at 6 million tons after adding carryover stocks of 0.5 million tons. “The country’s total available refined sugar stocks would be 6 million tons at the end of ongoing crushing season,” millers said. The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet had decided to allow millers to export 400,000 tons of sugar last week without imposing any restriction on mills regarding export quota.
The export of 200,000 tons and 135,834 tons of sugar has already been approved by the ECC and with the approval of export of another 64,166 million tons, the total of 400,000 tons will be exported. “Under the ECC decision no quota restrictions have been imposed on mills. Millers can export the commodity with their available stocks lying at godowns,” sources in Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) said.
Millers appreciating the government move demanded further allocation of export quota in order to ease financial issues so that the sugarcane growers are paid in time at the rate fixed by the government. They said that there would no shortage of sugar in the country if the government allows millers to export 0.5 million tons sugar, adding that a huge surplus sugar is available in the country and bumper crop of sugarcane is also expected this year. They said the government should devise proper export policy in order to facilitate the industry and the growers.
Pakistan produced 4.8 million tons of sugar in the year (2011-12): Sindh produced 1.3 million tons, Punjab 3.1 million tons while Khyber Pakhtunkhawa produced 1.3 million tons. Sources in PSMA said exporting sugar would help not only off-loading the surplus sugar but also help earn precious foreign exchange for the country at a time, when the sugar prices in the international market are well above the prices in Pakistan.