Sindh Agriculture department has rejected any possibility of reduction in officially fixed price of sugarcane, which has been set at Rs 172 per 40 kg, despite immense pressure from Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PASMA). On November 8, 2012, the provincial agriculture department fixed the price of per 40 kg (mound) sugarcane at Rs 172 and directed sugar mills of the province to procure sugarcane at the official rate.
It may be noted here that sugarcane price in 2011 was Rs 154 per 40 kg. Reacting to the increase in sugarcane price, PASMA (Sindh zone) appealed to Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah through advertisement in various newspapers, stating, “Sindh government should re-think over the fixation of new price of sugarcane.”
The advertisement further mentioned that Sugar mills were facing many crises and if the price of sugarcane was not reduced, many of the mills would be forced to close down. When Business Recorder checked the status of PASMA’s appeal in agriculture department, it emerged that the association has not submitted the copies of newspapers which carried out its appeal.
An official Chief Minister House also told Business Recorder that PASMA had not yet submitted its appeal to the Chief Minister at CM House, adding that “we also read their appeal for reduction in sugarcane price in newspapers.” To a question, he said that Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has not taken notice of the PASMA’s appeal appeared in newspapers.
Secretary Agriculture Agha Jan Akhtar has also endorsed the version of CM House’s official, saying that he had not received any appeal directly from the PASMA or CM House regarding the price reduction. He said, “the provincial government is firm in its stand over increase in sugarcane price and we will not reduce it any coast.” He said that if agriculture department would reduce price on the appeal of PASMA, than growers would put pressure on it. “So the Rs 172 per 40 Kg sugarcane price is appropriate and sugar mills are bound to buy sugarcane at government’s fixed price,” he added.