Despite the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and recommendations of Agriculture Policy Institute (API), provincial governments have not yet notified support price of sugarcane and left growers at the mercy of influential sugarcane mill owners.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reportedly directed all the chief ministers to fix sugarcane price by November 21, but provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have yet to implement the directives of the PM, official said.
He said that API – attached department of Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) sent its recommendations for support price of sugarcane in October this year following the request of provinces; however the provinces have so far not notified the support price while the cane crushing season that normally begins in November has yet to commence in most parts of Punjab, Sindh and KP.
Official said that following a detailed analysis of input costs, sugar stocks and international price of sugar, API recommended Rs 180 per 40 kg sugarcane support price for Punjab, Rs 182 per 40 kg for Sindh and Rs 180 per 40 kg for KP. Delay in announcement of support price of sugarcane will not only lead to lower yield and recovery of cane crop but will also delay sowing of wheat crop, official said.
He said that provincial governments fixed sugarcane support price in consultation with sugar industry and farmers, based on the recommendations of API and provincial agriculture departments. Sugarcane price also takes account of sucrose content in sugarcane for example in Sindh sucrose content of sugarcane crop is high as compared with Punjab.
He said that Punjab, Sindh and KP share 64, 25.2 and 9.8 percent in area and 56.8, 26.3 and 7.9 percent in production. The federal committee for agriculture has fixed sugarcane production target for 2014-15 crop at 65.472 million tons from 1.14 million hectares, he said, adding that as per final estimates of provincial agriculture departments sugarcane production is reported at 62.826 million tons which is four percent less than the set target as a result of 1.7 percent reduction in area and 2.3 percent decrease in yield.
The official said that in 2014-15, out of 62.472 million tons sugarcane, Punjab produced 41.11 million tons from 0.71 million hectares, Sindh produced 16.7 million tons from 0.32 million hectares and KP produced 5.12 million tons from 0.112 million hectares.
News source: Business Recorder