LAHORE-Ministry of Food Security has recently released the statistics of total sugar production in the country, according to which, 7,905,564 metric tonnes sugar was produced during 2021-22. A General Body meeting of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association was held to discuss these figures. All members of the association participated in the meeting, chaired by PSMA Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Zaka Ashraf.

The meeting was briefed that the ministry’s data shows that at least 51,706 metric tonnes of sugar stock was available from the previous season while 70,000 tonnes sugar, produced from beetroot, was available till the start of last season. This shows that the total sugar available from previous season and at the end of last season was 8,027,270 tonnes. The ministry’s data shows that at least 5,316,473 metric tonne sugar has been withdrawn from the stocks or consumed till September 30, 2022. It shows that the daily sugar consumption stands at approximate 15,980 tonnes. The ministry’s data proves that at least 1,736,017 metric tonne sugar will be available at the start of next crushing season in November this year.

Foreign exchange to the tune of $1 billion can be earned if this excess sugar is exported. Moreover, another $1 billion can be earned due to excess sugar production from next season. After the gap of at least 7 months, a meeting of Sugar Advisory Board has been convened on October 6. Such meetings of Sugar Advisory Board were regularly conducted approximately every month but such a long gap was never made.

Recent rains have proved beneficial for the overall health of sugarcane crop which can increase its yield capacity. This shows that in next season, sugar will be produced in surplus quantity. For the last 7-8 months, sugar industry is demanding the government to export this surplus sugar because at that time, the rate of sugar in the international market stood at $560 per tonne but due to government’s indifference and non-acceptance of demand, it dropped to $528.70 per tonne till date. 

This incurred loss to the national exchequer to the tune of $31,300,000. The international rate of sugar will further drop to $427 per tonne in February-March which will cause loss of $68,000,000 in case this excess sugar is not exported. If the government still does not pay attention to this vital matter then Pakistan will lose precious foreign exchange. Calculating the estimates of previous and next year’s season, at least 3,561,697 tonne excess sugar will be produced so the government should export this surplus sugar to earn foreign exchange.

It is highly likely that in case the government does not give permission to export surplus sugar then the sugarcane farmers and the sugar industry will be destroyed and payments to the farmers will become very difficult. This will ultimately create a crisis-like situation in the country. The PSMA General Body meeting participants requested the government to forthwith allow export of surplus sugar.