With the advent of sugarcane crushing season, Sindh government has categorically conveyed to the growers that it would not give any subsidy on sugarcane prices this year. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah while presiding over a high level meeting on Tuesday directed the Agriculture Department to work out an acceptable sugarcane price to the growers and millers. “This year government would not give any subsidy on cane price. I want to settle this price issue amicably with consensus of millers and growers,” he said.
Shah said that last year there were differences between growers and millers on the issue of sugarcane price. The meeting was told that Sindh government, last year, had given a subsidy of Rs 3989.8 million that benefited 41,047 growers. Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh while briefing the chief minister said that the agriculture minister had held a meeting with the growers to fix sugarcane price.
“We are still working to work out an acceptable price to the growers as well as the millers,” he said. Chief Secretary Siddique Memon said that there was a scientific method to work out sugarcane price. According to available data over 8 kg sugar is produced by crushing a 100 kg cane. “We have to work out total expenditures of a mills on production of one kg sugar plus their 15 percent profit and then have to check the ex-mill price of one kg sugar,” Memon apprised the meeting
“This calculation would help to ascertain the sugar price most likely to be acceptable to both the parties,” he said. The chief minister directed the secretary agriculture to keep close co-ordination with growers and millers and also check the sugarcane price in other provinces such as Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. To a question of the chief minister, the Secretary Agriculture said that last year sugarcane was grown over an area of 316,749 hectares while this year it has been recorded at 318,000 hectares. “This shows an increase in production and approximately yield would be around 18,858,672 tones,” he said. It may be noted that there are 33 operational sugar mills in the province.
The chief minister said that there were some complaints that the subsidy given by the government has not trickled down to the growers completely. On this, Secretary Agriculture said that about 98.9 percent amount, Rs 3857.114 million, had been disbursed and the outstanding dues of Rs 48.686 million to be given to 555 unpaid growers. The chief minister directed agriculture department to monitor disbursement and ensure the amount must reach to the genuine growers.