Sugar millers have demanded of the government to devise a proper policy to fix the annual support price of sugarcane to save the industry from incurring losses, sources said. Millers said that support price of sugarcane for upcoming crushing season should not be more than Rs 165 per 40kg as millers still have a stock 600,000 tons of white sweetener at their warehouses while next crushing is fast approaching.
Sugarcane growers had already urged the government to fix the minimum procurement price of sugarcane crop for the current season at Rs 225 per 40kg in the central Punjab and Rs 240 per 40kg in Rahim Yar Khan and Sindh due to what they were expecting high sucrose level in sugarcane of these areas which leads to higher recovery rate for the mills. Industry sources said government should take all stakeholders on board while announcing the support price for sugarcane of this upcoming crushing season. “A sound policy to fix the official support price of sugarcane should be evolved with the consultation of all stakeholders”, PSMA sources said.
They said that government was contemplating to fix official price of sugarcane at Rs 200 per 40kg which was very high in view of millers’ 400,000 tons of surplus stock. A PSMA office-bearer said that the association had demanded of the government to allow further export of 400,000 tons of sugar before the start of the next crushing season, as the country has a surplus stock of the commodity. He said that government should direct the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to keep 500,000 to 600,000 tons of sugar as strategic reserves to meet the requirements of Utility Stores Corporation (USC).
Wajid Ali Khan, a former PSMA chairman said that millers have paid 95 percent of outstanding dues to growers. He linked clearing the remaining payments if the government either allowed millers to export surplus sugar or TCP procured it to maintain a buffer stock. Growers are yet to be paid around Rs 11 billion by sugar millers against sugarcane sold during the previous crushing season. Pakistan had approved the export of 300,000 tons of sugar for the first time in nearly three years.