LAHORE: The sugarcane crushing season is around the corner but to the chagrin of the growers the Punjab government is yet to fix the minimum purchase price of the crop for the sugar milling industry.

Sources in the agriculture department say the Sugarcane Control Board is likely to meet within two weeks to take a decision on the minimum purchase price and that it is likely to be fixed at Rs300 per maund keeping in view the increase in agricultural production cost.

Last year the price had been fixed at Rs225 per maund by Punjab and Rs250 per maund by Sindh, while the crushing season had begun on Nov 15. Due to the price difference between the two neighbouring provinces the growers of the Punjab districts at the Sindh borders had preferred to sell their produce to the mills in Sindh province.

The last meeting of the board held on Sept 22 had directed the agriculture authorities to update their report on the sugarcane production cost in line with the increase or decrease in the farm input prices as representatives of growers demanded that the minimum purchase price for the sugar industry should be fixed between Rs300 and Rs400 per maund.

Growers want cane rate between Rs300 and Rs400 per 40kg

A representative of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association says they have no problem with the purchase price hike provided the government allows a proportionate increase in the sugar rates.

The meeting had also discussed the issues of sugarcane cess and transportation charges with the representatives of millers and growers without reaching any conclusion.

The Punjab Crop Reporting Service has reported a 7.9 per cent increase in the acreage of sugarcane. This Kharif season it has been planted on 2.318m acres against 2.148m acres sown last year.

A food department official says that presently the province holds sufficient stock of the sweetener to meet requirements till the time the next crop hits the market. Rather, Punjab will have a carryover stock of over 0.1m tonnes, he adds.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2022

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