Lahore - Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Chairman Chaudhry Zaka Ashraf says the PSMA has repeatedly held meetings with the government high-ups for the export of surplus sugar but the problems have not been addressed yet. Government should export this surplus sugar in phases to earn precious foreign exchange.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, he said that PSMA is a representative body of the entire sugar mills in Pakistan. With the start of last crushing season, we have been trying to bring it to the notice of the government that large stocks of surplus 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 we had a record sugar production of 8.00 million tons.

Generally, total consumption in Pakistan has been at 6.00 million tons whereas the sugar mills have produced 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 and dealers. Keeping in view the anticipated sugar consumption before new crushing season in November this year, 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 i.e. November, 2022. These statistics have already been verified through the Track and Trace System of FBR. According to sugar industry’s information regarding the sugarcane crop, it is estimated that next year (2022-23) there will be 10% 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 9.0 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 current surplus sugar of 1.2 million tons in phases to facilitate the sugar industry for liquidating their sugar stocks and also handling the next year expected surplus stocks of 3.2 Million Tons, well before time.

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.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has recently issued a policy about every manufacturing sector, binding them to export 10 percent of their production and the sugar industry lauded this step. At present, the sugar mills have surplus stocks of sugar beyond the average consumption of the country and these stocks can readily be exported. This export can also become a regular feature of government’s policy but for this government has to give immediate permission of export of surplus sugar.

Pakistan Sugar Mills Association has once again appealed to the government 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.