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LAHORE: The Punjab Sugarcane Growers Association (PSGA) and the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (Punjab Zone) have jointly appealed the Prime Minister of Pakistan to allow earlier export of surplus sugar to avail an opportunity of earning valuable foreign exchange.

They also called for issuing instructions to the ministry concerned for formulating a permanent policy for export of the commodity. The demand was raised at a meeting of both the organizations held at the PSMA office on Friday in which the problems faced by the growers were discussed.

According to the PSMA officials, growers’ association Chairman Rana Iftikhar Muhammad agreed that production costs of manufacturing white sugar has increased manifold due to high input costs.

He said during the crushing season of 2022-23, growers got minimum support price of sugarcane at Rs.300 per ton whereas in 2023-24, this rate was fixed as Rs. 400 per ton in Punjab and Rs. 425 in Sindh, which later reached up to Rs.500 per ton. Because of this, farmers got better return of their crop. Export of surplus sugar will help end issues between the farmers and the sugar mills.

The PSMA officials said sugar rates have dropped and the association is still waiting for the export of surplus sugar. On the other hand, due to unnecessary delay in export, the international prices of sugar are continuously receding, which are minimizing the opportunity to increase country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Rana Iftikhar Muhammad expressed his concerns that farmers have suffered losses in other crops such as wheat, cotton and maize. Their interest towards sugarcane cultivation is increasing. It is anticipated that farmers will cultivate about 30% more sugarcane resulting in additional sugarcane production in the next season. Accordingly surplus sugar production will again be increased.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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