our staff reporter


Though the Sindh government has resolved the sugarcane support price issue after a number of meetings with growers bodies and millers association, creating a consensus among them to rationalize the rate of cane at Rs.155 per 40kg keeping in view declining trend of sugar rate. But, the matter of price fixation of same crop in Punjab is to be resolved, while the sugar mills have threatened to stop crushing.

Industry sources said that Punjab govt’s unilateral fixation of sugarcane price at Rs180 per 40kg has created a purchase price difference of Rs25 per 40kg within a country by sugar mills, rendering the Punjab industry uncompetitive within the country.

Sources said that Sindh govt resolved the sugar price dispute between growers and millers, convincing them to show flexibility but now the Punjab mills owners have threatened to stop crushing unless sugarcane price is fixed in line with the support price of Sindh at Rs152 per 40kg despite the fact this rate does not match with the current sugar price of Rs49 per kg either. According to industry sources, the PSMA Punjab has written a letter to Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, stating that the Sindh govt has cut price of sugarcane to Rs155 in line with the market rate of sugar to ensure breakeven of industry and timely payment to growers. The reduction would enable Sindh sugar mills to have cost benefit advantage of Rs7.11 per kg of sugar, rendering the mills in Punjab highly uncompetitive and necessitating forced closure, the letter argued.

“We are already not in a position to retrieve cost of sugarcane to make payment to grower at a notified price of Rs180 per 40kg. With this onslaught and flux of sugar from Sindh at lower cost of production it would be impossible to sell bulging stock in local and international market. We therefore urge Punjab govt to revise sugarcane price to Rs153 per 40kg to provide us a level-playing field, facilitating mills to continue crushing without any disruption.”  Sugar industry stakeholders, opposing the support price of sugarcane, said that it is against free market economy, and it is implemented nowhere in the world. The price of sugarcane should be fixed on demand and supply mechanism as sugar rate in fixed by market forces, said a miller requesting anonymity. He said that if government continues to announce cane support price than it should also intervene to stabilize sugar prices to avoid losses faced by the millers, he argued.

Sugar mills, under the law, are bound to crush all cane produced by the growers but government does not care for the mills when they face over-production, he lamented.

On the other hand, growers have said that if sugar mills stop issuing of permits for purchasing of the crop, the farmers would suffer huge financial loss. They also claimed that some mills have stopped purchasing cane from farmers.

They warned the Punjab government against reduction of price of sugarcane. On the other hand, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan, in a statement, also termed the price reduction decision of sugarcane by the Sindh government as unjustified. The minister said that Punjab government had fixed price at Rs180 rupees per 40 kg while Sindh government had fixed it at Rs 182 per 40 kg but through another notification, the Sindh government made considerable reduction in the prices which, he said, was deplorable.

Shahbaz’s no to cut in crop rate


Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the rate of sugarcane will not be allowed to come down and the interests of the cultivators will be safeguarded at any cost. He said that sugar mill owners are bound to make payments to cultivators at the fixed rate and the government will discharge its responsibility in this regard.