LAHORE: Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) on Thursday sought permission to export half a million tonnes of surplus sugar.
In a letter to Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz, the association drawing his attention towards the current challenges requested to allow exports which is crucial to the industry’s economic survival.
It is pertinent to mention that sugar exports during FY23 stood at 215,751 tonnes fetching $104m against nil exports in FY22. Exports during the July-September quarter of 2023-24 were 35,102 tonnes earning $21m as compared to zero exports in the corresponding quarter of FY23.
However, the national average sugar price surged to an all-time high above Rs200 per kg in August due to a host of factors mainly shortage of the commodity caused by massive exports, smuggling and hoarding.
Taking stock of the situation, the caretaker government ordered a stringent check on hoarding and smuggling while an export ban was already in place since Aug 10 which yielded some respite and the national average price of the commodity eased to Rs130-174 per kg.
As per the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data, 1.13 million tonnes of the sweetener are still available with the mills as of October 31 which will last for more than two months considering the average offtake of the last 11 months.
Starting crushing for the current season with this stock position is considered unviable for the industry due to multiple deterrents mainly the storage capacity as many mills are already occupied due to existing stocks, observed the PSMA.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2023