Punjab govt rules out “immediate thr­eat” of sugar shortage

Punjab sugar

Punjab government has ruled out an “immediate thr­eat” of sugar shortage in the province claiming that millers have adequate stocks with them to meet requirements for “many months to come”.

“There is no immediate threat of sugar shortage in the country, particularly in Punjab, as sugar mills are holding over 1.36 million tonnes of stock,” said Pun­jab’s Cane Comm­issioner Muha­mmad Zam­an Wat­t­oo.

Previously it was reported that the authorities in Punjab are all set to import 600,000 tonnes of sugar worth Rs 53 billion to tackle the impending sugar shortage in the country.

The total production of sugar in Punjab was 3 million metric tonnes in the harvest of 2020 with a pre-existing stock of 0.5 million metric tonnes when many parts of Pakistan including Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan met their need for sugar through Punjab.

However, now in 2021, Punjab is expected to produce 3.3-3.4 million tonnes of sugar while its previous stock stands at 38,000 metric tonnes. 45% sugarcane has been crushed in the province so far, from which 1,777 k metric tonnes of sugar have been produced.

The 100 maunds of sugarcane are required for the cultivation on one acre of land due to which, 10% will be used as seeds during February’s cultivation period, while 2% sugarcane will produce gur.

The significant reduction in the production of sugar is the major reason behind the hike in the prices of sugarcane and sugar.

According to a spokesperson of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, the government has failed to take action against the sugarcane contractor mafia, which has led to a sharp rise in the price of sugarcane. “The government should ensure implementation of its fixed rate of Rs200 per maund.”

However, sugar worth Rs 19.20 billion in 2020 was imported to meet the province-wide consumption. The 140,000 metric tonnes of sugar, of which 51,461 metric tonnes were sold in Punjab by the Punjab government that also gave 13,996 metric tonnes to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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