April 23, 2014
A bumper sugar production of 5.2 million tons has been forecast for the current year, as opposed to 5.03 million tons last year. “A buffer stock of 3.5 million tons of sugar is available with local sugar mills and Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) which is sufficient till February 2015,” an official source of Ministry of National Food Security and Research told us on Tuesday.
The official said the government needs to intervene and purchase sugar from mills through TCP so that payments can be made to the growers; otherwise, growers will switch to other crops in the next season. Chairman Agri Forum Pakistan Ibrahim Mughal told Business Recorder that the country had sufficient stocks of sugar at present and per month domestic consumption of the commodity is 0.3 million tons while annual requirement is 4.2 million tons. The government needs to allow export of surplus sweetener to enable the industry to pay Rs 38 billion to growers, he said.
Sources revealed that sugar mills have so far produced 5.1 million tons of sugar and carryover stock from 2012-13 is 0.165 million tons. The total stock with sugar mills is 5.25 million tons of which mills sold 1.70 million tons and presently total sugar stock in hand is 3.5 million tons, source said.
The official said that sugarcane was cultivated in the country on an area of 1,129,693 hectares in 2013-14 as compared to 1,128,095 hectares the previous year. According to him, there are 46 sugar mills in Punjab, 26 in Sindh and eight in KP. In the current fiscal year, sugarcane production in Punjab decreased while it remained stagnant in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Its output increased in Sindh which may be attributed to shifting of cotton area to sugarcane production as well as a rise in demand of sugarcane due to establishment of new sugar mills in Sindh.