AWAR (APP) - The sugar mills of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will start crushing season and start
production of the sweetner after Eidul Azha amid record high price of the sugar in the local
market, sources in the provincial Sugarcane Commission told APP on Saturday.
The decision of the starting of the sugarcane crushing has been taken in consensus with the
sugar millers to ensure the availability of the labourers, Sugarcane Commissioner, Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, Saeed-ur-Rehman told the news agency.
He said that the sugar millers had told that majority of the labourers of their units used to come
from Punjab and due to the upcoming Eidul Azha they will not in a position to join their work. But,
interestingly, chairman, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has attributed the delay in the sugarcane
crushing in Punjab to the unavailability of the labour force from Punjab.
The delay in the starting of the crushing season on one or the other pretext is resulting in creating
destabilizing the price of the commodity and shooting up the price in the local market.
The provincial government has fixed minimum rate of Rs.125/- per 140 kilogram of the sugarcane,
the price offered by the sugar millers in the province of Punjab. The rate of Rs.125 for 40
kilogram commodity is minimum price while the sugar millers are ready even to pay a price of
Rs.210 for the same, claimed the cane commissioner. Pakistan is facing severe sugar crisis and
the price of the one kilogram is ranging between Rs.90 to Rs100 per kilogram at the retail level.
However, the government officials are attributing it to artificial price hike.
The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has seven sugar mills with four only in D.I. Khan with one
each in Bannu, Peshawar and Mardan. The two mills in Saleem Sugar Mills, Charsadda and
Frontier Sugar Mills (FSM) Takhtbai have already been closed down.
The sugarcane commissioner said that last year 1,90,000 ton of sugar was produced in the
province while this year they are expecting the production of 2,00,000 ton of the commodity.
The gur manufacturing ghanis are the big competitors of the sugar mills in Peshawar valley that
has potential market in the neighbouring Afghanistan. The sugarcane growers prefer selling their
crop to gur ghanies than the sugar mills to avoid waiting for months for their payments.
Last year, the two sugar mills of Peshawar valley, Premier Sugar Mills (PSM) Mardan and
Khazana Sugar Mills (KSM) failed to go for crushing for a single day due to row over the price of
the commodity with the growers.