Punjab may witness five percent decrease in sugarcane output

November 21, 2013

FAZAL SHER

Punjab province, which accounts for 62 percent of the country’s sugar output, may witness a decrease of 5 percent in sugarcane production in 2013-2014 as compared to the previous year. According to an official document available with Business Recorder during 2013-2014, sugarcane was cultivated in Punjab on an area of 723.56 thousand hectares as compared to 767.67 thousand hectares the previous year – a decline of 5.7 percent.

Sugarcane production for the year of 2013-2014 is estimated at 40.846 million tons as compared to 42.982 million tons of the previous year showing a decrease of 5.0 percent over the previous year attributed to a decrease in area under cultivation. According to the document, the main reason for decrease in area under cultivation of sugarcane is higher acreage for cultivation of Maize and Rice crops with better economic returns. Difficulties faced in disposal of crop and payments during last year also discouraged the growers from cultivating sugarcane.

An official of Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that the provincial governments set procurement price of sugarcane in consultation with representatives of both the sugar industry and farmers’ organisations, based on recommendations from Agricultural Policy Institute (API) and their departments of agriculture, food, and industry. However, the Punjab government has not yet set sugarcane procurement price for 2013-14, he said.

He said that during the 2012-13 crushing season, the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) announced a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 170 per 40 Kg ($43/ ton), whereas Sindh announced a price of Rs 172 per 40 Kg ($44/ton), a 13 percent increase from last year’s price due to increase in cost of inputs associated with a depreciating rupee.

Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest producer of sugarcane in terms of acreage, and the 12th largest producer of sugar. In Pakistan, sugarcane is grown on approximately one million hectares and provides the raw material for 84 sugar mills. The sugar industry is the country’s second largest agro-industry after textiles. Area under sugarcane cultivation increased gradually up to 1993-94 and after that it remained constant. Average national cane yield was commensurate with cane acreage. However, sugar recovery remained the same, without any improvement, for the last many years.

Courtesy Business Recorder

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