LAHORE - Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has demanded the government to allow immediate export of surplus sugar.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PSMA Chairman Chaudhry Zaka Ashraf said that the association is a representative body of the entire sugar mills in Pakistan. In the letter, he said that with the beginning of crushing season 2021-22, they have been trying to bring to the notice of the government that large surplus of sugar will be available at the end of crushing season in April 2022. This has been confirmed by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as well as other government institutions that the mills had a record sugar production of 8.00 million tons in the previous crushing season.

He added that historically total consumption in Pakistan has been at 6.00 million tons having a surplus of 2.00 million tons. Now the midyear stock taking reveals that as of July 31, 2022, a total of 3.03 million tons of sugar is still available with the sugar mills. This is in addition to the stocks available in the supply line upto the retailers. Keeping in view the anticipated sugar consumption before new crushing season, it is expected that 1.8 million tons will be consumed. This situation clearly indicates that Pakistan will have a definite surplus of sugar to the tune of 1.2 million tons or more before the start of the next crushing season in November, 2022.

The letter further reads: “Our information from the field indicates that sugarcane crop grown by the farmers during the next year 2022-23 is estimated at 10 percent increase, as compared to the last year 2021-22. Moreover, due to recent heavy rains it is expected that the yield of sugarcane crop will certainly definitely increase than the last year. These factors also clearly indicate that next year there will be again surplus sugar to the tune of 3.0 million tons approximately. These statistics for the current year as well as the next year regarding projected sugar production necessitate that the government of Pakistan may immediately allow export of surplus sugar in phases to facilitate the sugar industry for liquidating their sugar stocks and also handling the next year expected surplus stocks, well before time.”

It added that PSMA has time and again submitted and reminded the government that such surplus sugar stocks invariably create financial crises for sugar mills and consequently to the sugarcane growers. As cost of agriculture inputs of the farmers is going very high therefore the cost of production has risen tremendously. With the high cost of production, the farmers will also expect to get a reasonable high price for their sugarcane crop. If cost of production is not matched, they will be discouraged to cultivate sugarcane in future. In that case Government will have to import the sugar after spending foreign exchange and public will also get the sugar at very high price. Pakistan Sugar industry, sugarcane growers and economy of Pakistan will also definitely suffer. The association has urged the prime minister to kindly intervene immediately and direct the authorities concerned to take steps on priority for the export of surplus sugar. This is also an opportunity for Pakistan to earn foreign exchange at such a crucial time of the economy.