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LAHORE: Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) claiming that Pakistan will have a definite surplus of sugar to the tune of 1.2 million tons or more before the start of the next crushing season, has asked the prime minister to direct the authorities concerned for the export of surplus sugar on priority basis.

In a letter to the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PSMA leadership said midyear stock-taking reveals that as of July 31, 2022, a total of 3.03 million tons of sugar is still available with the sugar mills. This is in addition to the stocks available in the supply line up to the retailers.

Keeping in view the anticipated sugar consumption before new crushing season, it is expected that 1.8 million tons will be consumed. This situation clearly indicates that Pakistan will have a definite surplus of sugar to the tune of 1.2 million tons or more before the start of the next crushing season i.e. November, 2022, the letter added.

It further said that as per information from the field sugarcane crop has grown by the farmers during the 2022-23 is estimated at 10% increase, as compared to the last year, 2021-22. Moreover, due to recent heavy rains it is expected that the yield of sugarcane crop will certainly increase than the last year.

These factors also clearly indicate that next year there will be again surplus sugar to the tune of 3.0 million tons approximately. These statistics for the current year as well as the next year regarding projected sugar production necessitate that the Government of Pakistan may immediately allow export of surplus sugar in phases to facilitate the sugar industry for liquidating their sugar stocks and also handling the next year expected surplus stocks, well before time.

The letter further claimed that PSMA had time and again submitted and reminded the government that such surplus sugar stocks invariably create financial crises for sugar mills and consequently to the sugarcane growers.

As cost of agriculture inputs of the farmers is going very high therefore the cost of production has risen tremendously. With the high cost of production, the farmers will also expect to get a reasonable high price for their sugarcane crop. If cost of production is not matched, they will be discouraged to cultivate sugarcane in future.

In that case the government will have to import the sugar after spending foreign exchange and public will also get the sugar at very high price. Pakistan Sugar industry, sugarcane growers and economy of Pakistan will also definitely suffer.

Concluding, PSMA said earlier permission to export surplus sugar will also create an opportunity for Pakistan to earn foreign exchange at such a crucial time of the economy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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