LAHORE             -        Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) and All Pakistan Kissan Foundation, welcoming the Commission’s report on sugar industry, have urged the government to take serious action against the culprits who were taking benefit from both sides in the name of farmers.

Both the organizations also urged the government to remove the sugar mills illegally installed in cotton areas and restore the cotton belt as per crop zones. They also called for removing the illegal enhanced capacity of sugar mills and return them to original and approved capacity. The amount paid less to sugarcane growers in ?2017-18? and proved by the commission report may be recovered from the identified mills and returned to sugarcane growers, immediately.

PKI President Khalid Mahmood Khokhar and All Pakistan Kissan Foundation Chairman Syed Mehmood ul Haq Bokhari while addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club (LPC) here on Thursday said that the Commission’s report reveals that the sugar recovery goes up to 13% in the season whereas the industry never pay price according to recovery which is an unfair deal with farmers and we demand the mills must be bound to pay sugarcane price according to sugar recovery. The sugarcane prices paid to farmers in ?2017-18  are far less than the documents of the mills showing, as that was paid to middle man, not to farmer. A farmer was getting Rs. 120 to130 per 40kg of sugarcane, with a 5- 10% reduction in weight in the name of unclean cane and trash, so the actual price a farmer had received in 2017-18 would be Rs. 90-100 per 40 kg. In ?2017-18? sugar mills paid Rs. 130 billion less than indicative price to sugarcane growers. In the PM Agriculture Emergency program, sugarcane was included despite the fact this crop had no productivity issue, rather we were producing surplus sugar and exporting with a subsidy from the taxpayers’ money. Whereas cotton, which the country has, stake and contribute 60% of foreign exchange was not included, because the architecture of the program has stakes in sugar.

Sugarcane has taken away the area under cotton because sugar is protected by 40% import duty and sugarcane has an indicative price, whereas the sugar and textile industry resisted fixing the intervention price of cotton.

Sugarcane is a water-guzzling crop and consumes 3-4 times more water than cotton. Pakistan has become a water deficit country; we should plan crops considering water use.

Sugarcane is also known as the Potash mining crop, it is one of the main reasons for shifting sugar mills to the south of Punjab from central Punjab. More than 60% of our land is now Potash deficient and requires the application of Potash fertilizer for optimal yields, they added.