Pakistan Agriculture News

Sugar mills decry new crushing date

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has objected to the new crushing date announced by government, saying it was two weeks earlier than the traditional date of crushing and the mills already have sufficient sugar stocks.

In a statement, Chairman Aslam Faruque said the date of crushing sugarcane has traditionally been November 30, but the new one is Nov15, which was not appropriate as the cane is not ripe at that time.

“This makes no sense at all,” Faruque said, adding, “We have surplus sugar stocks in the mills and the government wants to add to this by forcing early crushing.”

He said that currently Pakistan has around $500 million worth of sugar in stock, and certain restrictions on exports make it difficult for mills to sell their produce overseas.

The PSMA deplored that respective governments have had wrong policies towards sugar mills which is a direct link between agriculture and industry.

The association said that federal and provincial governments owe more than Rs16 billion to sugar mills in terms of export subsidies.

It has forwarded four demands to the government to be fulfilled before the start of next crushing season; clearing all pending subsidy amount; minimum sugarcane price for new season should be linked with local sugar prices; federal government should allow unconditional export of one million tonnes of proven surplus sugar; and the rate of sales tax should be based on sugar’s retail price instead of being fixed by FBR.

According to PSMA, the price of sugar in market was around Rs47-48 per kilogram whereas the sales tax being collected for the past two years was the same as when price was Rs60 per kg.