Some sugar owners are said to be lobbying to convince the government to allow them to export the remaining 0.31 million tons of sugar out of the 0.5 million tons approved by the government last year, although local commodity prices have witnessed a 7.7 percent increase over the past one month.
The Economic Co-ordination Committee (EEC) of the cabinet had allowed the export of 0.5 million tons of sugar in December 2015 with a subsidy of Rs 13,000 per ton till March 31, 2016. Sugar mills owners, however, managed to export only 0.19 tons of sugar till March 31, 2016, an official, who requested anonymity, said.
He further stated that sugar mills owners later wrote a letter to Ministry of Commerce in April this year requesting an extension of the date of export of sugar till June 30, 2016 as sugar millers had failed to export the approved quantity of sugar till due date. Subsequent to sustained efforts of sugar mill owners the government assured them that their request would be considered post-Ramazan after checking sugar price and its availability in the domestic market.
The official further revealed to Business Recorder that sugar mill owners were making fresh efforts to convince the government to allow them to export the remaining 0.31 million tons of sugar; however he added that the price of the commodity has recorded a significant increase in the last month.
During Ramazan, sugar was available at Rs 300 per 5-kg in utility stores and is now being sold at Rs 325 per kg; and in the open market it was being sold at Rs 325 per 5kg during Ramazan and is now being sold at Rs 340 per 5kg.
Despite several attempts, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Punjab Chairman Javed Kayani could not be reached for his comments. During the sugar season 2015-16, 5.10 million tons of sugar was produced and there was a 3.65 million tons of stock from the previous year.
Sugarcane production for the year 2015-16 increased to 65.5 million tons from 62.8 million tons last year, showing an increase of 4.2 percent. The decline in area is due to disposal problem of cane, payment difficulties, and restricted acreage of sugarcane that led to shifting acreage under sugarcane production to other competitive crops.
Sugarcane is one of the major cash crops of Pakistan. In terms of area it ranks fourth while in terms of production it comes at fifth place. In productivity per acre, it has 10th position in the country.
Source: Business Recorder