LAHORE - The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has demanded the government to announce a complete and permanent mechanism for sugar export by fixing a limit.

“Whenever the sugar production surpasses a particular limit, necessary for local needs, the sugar mills should export surplus stock without waiting for permission of government,” PSMA Punjab chairman Riaz Qadeer Butt observed.

He said that the long-term policies and permanent mechanism for sugar export will allow the millers to enhance their expertise and endeavour for foreign market, besides producing surplus sugar to earn precious foreign exchange,” Butt stated.

Riaz Qadeer Butt said that our exporters will take further time to export their stock as the government has lifted ban after a long time.

As they are not aware of world market norms and clientage chain they will take more time to seek information for marketing of their products. He blamed the government for inconsistent policies, which confused the millers as well as the exporters to decide its production target and export strategies. 

He said that Pakistan can repay two installments of IMF loan worth about $0.5 billion by exporting just 1 million tons of sugar, as after consumption, 1.7 million tons of white sweetener will be surplus during the season.

“As the consumption across the country is not more than 4.5 million tons, we will have leftover stock of 1.7 million tons of sweetener, implying that industry can export at least 1 million tons of sugar easily during the season,” he said.

He said that by exporting 1 million tons of white refined sugar from this season’s production, Pakistan can fetch about $0.5 billion foreign exchange, which is equal to the amount of about two installments of the IMF loan.

He anticipates a bumper sugar crop for the season 2012-13, putting the stockpiles of sweetener at 6.2 million tons after adding carryover stocks of 1.2 million tons. “The country’s total available refined sugar stocks would be 6.2 million tons at the end of ongoing crushing season,” he said.

He said the government should devise proper export policy in order to facilitate the industry and the growers.

He said that Pakistan produced 4.8 million tons of sugar in the year (2011-12), Sindh produced 1.3 million tons, Punjab 3.1 million tons while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa produced 1.3 million tons. PSMA Punjab chairman said exporting sugar would help not only off-loading the surplus sugar but also help earn precious foreign exchange for the country.

Replying to a question, he said that presently sugar mills are running at 60 to 70 per cent of their capacity as sugarcane is short.

Every sugar mill crushes in the range of 6,000 tons to 10,000 tons sugarcane daily but the availability of raw material is just 4,500 ton, increasing the cost of production of millers. As increase of sugarcane prices directly affects sugar prices and if per acre yield of sugarcane is increased then the farmers would be able to get more benefit and issue can be tackled with the increase in research, technology and yields of sugarcane.