LAHORE - Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Punjab Zone Chairman Javed Kayani has said that mills have sugar stock of 17,40,505 million tons, which is sufficient to cater for domestic requirement until the start of next crushing season in November. According to a press release, he said keeping in view the sugar stocks and consumption pattern of the country there is hardly any possibility of shortage of the commodity in the current calendar year. He said cancellation of sugar import tenders by Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) was a step in the right direction. As a result of this decision government has saved huge amount of foreign exchange, as price of the commodity has increased manifold in the international market. He said last year well before start of crushing season 2008-2009 PSMA had proposed to government that raw sugar may be allowed to be imported to maintain strategic buffer stock and to keep the price of sugarcane and sugar under control. The Government would have saved precious foreign exchange as price of raw sugar was relatively much lower than the current level. Moreover, raw sugar could be exported as well after refining primarily to Afghanistan and we could have kept our market share. The Association had clearly expressed in Press that TCP could buy from the local market upto 200,000 M/tons of the commodity which would be far cheaper than imported. He said the Government is responsible for sugar price hike because last year sugarcane support price was raised from Rs.60/40 kg to Rs.80/40 kg. Moreover, due to less availability of sugarcane crop in the country the sugarcane price reached at unprecedented levels of Rs.140 to Rs.150 per 40 kg. The mills are neither hoarding nor trying to deliberately manipulate the price. The increase in sugar price is a natural outcome of cost-push factors. Chairman Javed Kayani said keeping in view crushing capacity of sugar mills in the country there is a need to increase per acre yield of sugarcane through better varieties containing high sucrose contents. He said, the only mechanism which should govern the procurement of sugarcane is the linkage of price with sucrose contents. He said the Government of Punjab has already done spade work and modalities were finalized for recovery based price yet the announcement is still not made which can affect the September sowing of the crop as well. He said the representatives of growers associations have also supported this mechanism because the farmers would greatly benefit from this scheme. Javed Kayani said unnecessary and needless import of sugar means supporting sugarcane growers of foreign countries and discouraging growers of Pakistan . Consequently growers in Pakistan switch over to other crops which can cause severe and prolonged sugar crisis in the country. To avoid this situation sugarcane growers should be paid a reasonable price of their crop and that is only possible if recovery based price mechanism is adopted.