Contributing significantly in the rural areas of
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Dec 17 - 30 , 2001
Ashraf W. Tabani, Chairman, Pakistan Sugar Mills
Association (PSMA) has expressed the hope that the government would
realize and resolve the problems faced by the sugar industry in the
larger interest of the economy and enabling it use its full potentials
to contribute its due share in socio-economic uplift of the country.
Talking to PAGE, the PSMA Chairman said that
sugar industry essentially an agro based industry plays a vital role
in creating economic activity in the farms as well as factories. About
78 sugar producing units are engaged in providing jobs to the millions
and supporting the poverty alleviation agenda of the government. The
construction of farm to factory and factory to the cities is yet
another contribution, which the sugar industry is providing silently.
He said that out of an income of Rs60 billion
generated by sugar industry almost Rs40-35 billion go to the growers
while Rs12 billion on account of sales tax while about Rs7 billion
earned by the transport sector. These figures are self explanatory of
the contribution being made by the sugar industry in different
segments of the economy.
Tabani said that country's sugar production for the
current season is estimated at 2.9 million tons while a carried over
inventory of 5 lakh tons is already in hand. As far as the
availability of the sugar is concerned for next year, we have a safe
and sound situation as even after meeting country's total requirement
the industry will have a surplus of 4-5 lakh tons. The industry has
suggested the government to allow its export to earn some foreign
exchange for the country. Replying to a question he said that
currently the international sugar price is not attractive however
instead of keeping the surplus without any use, it is better to export
To another question that how other sugar producing
countries are making the sugar export viable, he said that the
governments of sugar exporting countries are offering substantial
subsidy to support the export of sugar from those countries. He was of
the view that sugar industry in Pakistan can also earn foreign
exchange by fully utilizing its installed capacity of 5.5 million tons
a year which means that the country could have an export surplus of
2-2.5 million tons if this industry is supported to run on its full
He said that for many years, the sugar cess
collected by the government is not being utilized to the purpose
however the government has recently assured to make full use of the
tax collected for the development of roads from farm to the market.
Tabani was also of the opinion that instead of
increasing the area for cultivation of sugar cane, a healthy yield and
enhanced recovery of the present size of the crop can increase the
size of production. Though improved level of recovery of the current
size of crop the size of the total production can be increased
considerably, however for better results we will have to go for
research to have better the quality and variety of the cane crop.
Meanwhile in order to resolve the problems faced by
the sugar industry, farmers and other sectors related to the sugar
industry, the government has constituted a broad-based "Sugar
Board" to identify and address the problems facing sugar
industry. The federal commerce, industry and production minister is
the chairman of the Board, while the federal secretaries of industries
and production and commerce, the sugarcane commissioner, the
representatives of various zones of the Pakistan Sugar Mills
Association, the representative of Kisan Board, Farmers Association,
sugar-cane growers and technologists are its members.
The joint secretary, ministry of industries and
production is the secretary of the Board while provincial governments
concerned will also nominate one member each on the Board.
The government has constituted this board with the
aim to identify issues pertaining to research and development of
sugarcane with regard to crop varieties, quality seed, seed treatment,
fertilizers, pesticides, insect pests, diseases, integrated
post-management, and provide guidelines for the improvement in
productivity of sugarcane.
The Board will study the farmers' investments in
sugarcane production and sugar profitable prices wherein farmers,
millers and consumers may co-exist.
The board will also address the issues facing
farmers in the marketing of their cane including weighment, payment,
cane delivery and premium on sugar recovery.
It will also rationalize sugarcane cess across
various provinces, take measures to affect recoveries of sugarcane
cess from defaulting mills and assure effective utilization of cess
funds for research and development of sugarcane and other allied
matters including development of rural roads to sugar mills. It will
also address the liquidity and working capital problems of sugar
industry, improve their working efficiency. The Board will also
identify suitable regions and propose mechanism for promotion of sugar
beet to substitute sugarcane. The board will also assess domestic
requirement of sugar and ascertain supply prospects as well as suggest
the government to signal imports or export of sugar in future.