ISLAMABAD - A spokesman of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has categorically rejected the commerce ministry’s statement that there is not sufficient amount of surplus sugar available in the country and there is only 0.4 million tonnes surplus stock currently present. The data available with the Ministry of Industries and Commerce Ministry said that the country holds surplus sugar stock of 2.0 million tonnes.

In a statement, the spokesman said that the minutes of last meeting of the Sugar Advisory Board also proposed that 7.8 million tonnes of sugar had already been produced whereas at that time crushing season was in progress. The sugar produced from sugar beet was also available which added to this surplus stock, hence a total of 8.1 million tonnes of sugar was available by the end of previous crushing season. Estimating the consumption at the rate of 0.5 million tonnes per month makes to a total of 6.1 million tonnes for the entire year. These figures suggest that 2.0 million tonnes of surplus sugar was available in the country.

He said that estimated figures are based on the average consumption during the current season. They totally are based on the last stock available with the sugar mills whereas ample stock is available with the stockists and retailers. The ministry’s claim of less surplus sugar stock is totally baseless and not based on ground realities. He added that in the last Sugar Advisory Board’s meeting dated 14-04-2022, Provincial Cane Commissioner and relevant federal ministries authenticated the above figures. Furthermore, the spokesman stated that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) installed a very efficient Track & Trace System through which highly authentic data continuously becomes available to FBR. The fear of reduction of stocks expressed by the Ministry of Commerce is without any basis and is unrealistic. The spokesman of PSMA feared that the delaying tactics would push Pakistan again in 2017 like situation when Pakistan had surplus stocks & PSMA kept asking for permission of sugar export and international prices were high but due to delayed decision making, international prices went down then export subsidy had to be provided to meet the cost of production.

At present, Pakistan is in need of foreign exchange and by exporting this 1.5 million tonnes of surplus sugar out of 2.0 million tonnes, US$1 billion can easily be earned. Brazil and India are also considering dumping their surplus sugar in the world market which will further bring down the international prices. India has plans to dump 8.0 million tonnes of its surplus sugar in the international market therefore immediate action is needed by the government of Pakistan to export surplus sugar.

He said at least 10-15 percent increase in sugarcane production is highly anticipated in the next season, taking the total surplus sugar forecast to 3 million tonnes of surplus sugar besides the previous season’s 2 million tonnes of surplus sugar. If government will allow export of sugar after October then international market will be very low & thus becoming unfeasible for Pakistan sugar industry to export surplus sugar without subsidy. Payments will get stuck & sugar mills will be jeopardized with the cash flows to pay to the farmers resultantly they will stop sowing sugarcane crop then the government will have to spend millions to billions of dollars on import of sugar.