ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is facing a sugar shortage of 260,000 tons for the ongoing year, official data revealed. According to the data shared with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the Ministry of Industries and production, this year, Sindh province has estimated a reduction of 40 per cent in sugarcane production, which will create further problems.
The document further said that Pakistan despite no sugar export in the past two years imported a total 0.677 million tons of the commodity to meet the local requirements.
According to Tariq Bashir Cheema, the Federal Minister on National Food Security and Research right now the members of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) are pressurising the government to let them export one million tons of sugar. While the government is reluctant in allowing sugar exports, saying the PSMA should provide verified sugar stocks data to get permission, which, the PSMA has so far refused.
The minister said that the PSMA claimed the country has 1.9 million tons of sugar stocks and the crushing season is to start which will bring fresh commodity in the market and the millers have no space to store the old stocks, so export will earn not only foreign exchange but also help free space in warehouses for fresh commodity.
Business Recorder has noted that sugar prices in the local market within the past three weeks have jumped up by Rs400 per 50kg bag from Rs4,150 per bag to Rs4,550 per bag, which according to traders if the government allowed PSMA to export the commodity will once again cross Rs5,000 mark.
According to official data, Pakistan from 2011 to 2020 exported sugar below the global market price which ranges from $384-$558 per ton and for which they even got subsidies from the government. But when the government allowed exports, within a few weeks a shortage of the commodity was created in the local market and the government was forced to allow import of sugar at higher price ranging from $473-$826 per ton, which caused huge financial losses to the national kitty, while the millers earned handsome profits by exporting and importing.
The official data shows that in 2011-12, the PSMA exported 144,706 tons of sugar worth $80.7 million at $558 per ton and imported 5,247 tons worth $4.33 million costing $826 per ton, reflecting a loss of $268 per ton or 48 per cent difference in import and export price. In 2012-13 a total 1.03 million tons of sugar worth $506 million was exported at $492 per ton, and imported 8,051 tons of sugar at $678 per ton costing $5.45 million or 38 per cent difference in export and import price.
Pakistan, in 2013-14, exported 0.735 million tons of sugar at $446 per ton, fetching $$327.5 million and imported 8,386 tons of commodity at $624 per ton with total import spending $.23 million or 40 per cent difference in export and import price.
The country, in 2014-15, exported 0.58 million tons of the commodity at $450 per ton, earning $261million and imported 13,742 tons of sugar at $582 per ton worth $7.99 million, or 29 per cent difference between export and import rates.
In 2015-16 Pakistan exported 0.273 million tons of sugar at $451 per ton worth $123.2 million and imported 9,466 tons at $473 per ton worth $4.47 million or five per cent difference in export and import price.
Pakistan, in 2016-17, exported 0.398 million tons of commodity at $510 per ton worth $203 million and imported 9,559 tons at $593 per ton worth $5.66 million. The export was 16 per cent cheaper than the imports.
In 2017-18, the country exported 1.57 million tons of sugar at $332 per ton worth $$522 million and imported 7,748 tons at 561 per ton worth $7.75 million; the exports were 69 per cent cheaper than the imports.
In 2018-19, a total of 0.619 million tons of sugar was exported at $340 per ton bringing $210 million in foreign exchange and sugar import stood at 7,519 tons at $492 per ton costing $3.7 million or exports were 45 per cent cheaper than imports.
Pakistan, in 2019-20, exported a total of 72,611 tons of sugar at $384 per ton worth $27.8 million and imported 36,451 tons at $450 per ton, costing $16.4 million while exports were 17 per cent cheaper than imports.
According to official data, during 2020-21, Pakistan did not export sugar, while sugar imports stood at 0.415 million tons at $734 per ton, costing $304 million to the national kitty, and in 2021-22, the country imported a total of 0.262 tons of the commodity at $484 per ton costing $126.85 million to the national kitty.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022