Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan on Monday said that committees will be constituted at provincial level to resolve the problems which are being confronted by the sugar mills owners. He said this while addressing on the occasion of 49th Annual Convention of Pakistan Society of Sugar Technologists (PSST), at a hotel here on Monday.
He said that Pakistan has about 89 sugar mills out of which 47 are in Punjab, 33 in Sindh and 9 in KPK. Due to the low cane yield, the production of sugarcane is not matching with the capacity of these mills, he said. He pointed out that sugar mills cannot survive without sugarcane, which is its sole raw material.
Similarly, the sugarcane growers cannot survive without sugar mills as they provide them with market and both are inter-dependent because the relation between these two main stakeholders, however, are not conducive due to several reasons, he added. He said that one of the prime issue is the delayed payments which not only hurts the growers but create ground for middle man’s exploitation. He said that he is aware that the cost of inputs has gone up and farmers need support and assistance in this extremely important issue.
He said that he would appreciate if the sugar industry along with PSST can work together to devise a mechanism to sort out these long pending issues. The Federal Minister pointed out that Pakistan has a trillion rupees sugar industry and we would not like it to suffer but at the same time it is also important that sugarcane growers are also not ignored. There are other competing crops such as cotton, corn, rice and sunflower which are not only of short duration but require less water and posses profitable yield. In such a scenario, the shifting of crops is not out of place which in my opinion would not be a good omen for the industry, he noted.
He said that we being a agriculture economy lack in research and development which is extremely important for Pakistan. He informed that the Ministry of Food Security and Research supports the creation of a Sugarcane Research and Breeding Institute in the Province of Sindh. Currently we are dependent on imported Fuzz to develop sugarcane varieties which may not acclimatise to the agro climatic conditions of Pakistan, he said. He said that we need to set up such a Research Centre to develop our own seed better suited to our own environment.
This requires a consolidated effort by PSST and PSMA, which I suggest should join hand and work for the betterment of the both the growers and the industry, he added. He said that the PSST was an important forum for the sugar sector and it can play a meaningful role for the betterment of this very sector. In the present competitive world, our industry faces many challenges for survival which need to be catered professionally and the PSST is the right forum to address such challenges, he added. Earlier, President, Pakistan Society of Sugar Technologists, Murad Ali Bhatti, former president PSST, Sajid Hussain Naqvi and other office bearers of the Society also spoke.