Cane Commissioner, Punjab, has convened a meeting of sugar growers and sugar millers on November 15 (Thursday next week) to discuss the issue of sugarcane support price. Reservations of sugar millers and growers will also be discussed in the meeting, as any controversy might delay the start of the crushing season in the province, sources said on Saturday.
“The Punjab government had announced Rs 170 per 40 kilograms as minimum purchase price of the sugarcane against last year’s price of Rs 150 per 40kg. Millers will not be able to start crushing at this price,” said Riaz Qadeer Butt of the Punjab chapter of Pakistan Sugar Millers Association (PSMA).
Asked about mills in Punjab would start crushing, Riaz Qadeer Butt said that millers first wanted to resolve the issue of minimum purchase price. He said that if millers bought sugarcane at Rs 170 per maund, the production price of sugar would be around Rs 62 per kilograms while the current market price of sugar was around Rs 51-52 per kilogram. He said that the price fixed by the Punjab government was Rs 20 per 40 kilograms more than last year.
He said that high mark up rates on loans obtained from banks would increase input costs, adding that millers also had to pay growers for their produce. Rejecting the price announced by the provincial government, Butt said millers wanted that the price of sugarcane should not be increased to save the industry from an impending crisis, adding that the minimum purchase price should be kept at last year’s level. Representatives of various farmers’ organisations urged the government to fix the minimum purchase price of sugarcane at around Rs 200 per maund.