Friday, 14 November 2014

Sugarcane crushing: delay may cause adverse impact on wheat sowing

The sugar industry has not yet started crushing in violation of the Sugar Factories Control Act 1950, which may lead to reduced sowing of wheat crop. According to an official source of the Ministry of Food Security and Research, under the law, sugar mills in Sindh are bound to start crushing on October 1 and those in Punjab by November 1, but so far the sugar industry in both the provinces has not started crushing.

The delay in crushing of sugarcane will delay the sowing of wheat crop from November to December - a suboptimal time for sowing of the country''s staple grain, he said. Not only will the delay in sugarcane crushing lead to reduction in wheat output, it will also discourage sugarcane growers. Sugarcane growers may opt for other Kharif crops like rice and cotton and it may also affect sugarcane production in the years to come, he said.

According to provincial government reports, sugarcane production for 2014-15 is estimated at 63.4 million tons from an area of 1,114,135 hectares as compared to 66.8 million tons the previous year from an area of 1,162,001 hectare, showing a decrease of 3.5 million tons. Punjab province, which accounts for 62 percent of the country''s sugarcane production, may witness a decrease as in 2014-15 sugarcane has been cultivated in Punjab on an area of 756,750 hectares as compared to 696,079 hectares. Sugarcane production for 2014-15 in Punjab is estimated at 39.67 million tons as compared to 43.7million tons the previous year, showing a decrease of 4 million tons.

In Sindh, sugarcane has been cultivated on an area of 310,368 hectares during 2014-15 as compared to 297,558 hectares the previous year. Sugarcane production in Sindh is estimated at 18.93 million tons for 2014-15 as compared to 18.36 million tons in previous year. During 2014-15, sugarcane has been cultivated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on an area of 107,693 hectares as compared to 107,693 hectares the previous year. Sugarcane production for 2014-2015 is estimated at 4.85 million tons as compared to 4.8 million tons the previous year.

The official further revealed that the provincial governments set procurement price of sugarcane in consultation with representatives of both the sugar industry and farmers'' organisations, based on the recommendations of Agricultural Policy Institute (API) and their departments of agriculture, food, and industry. They fix procurement price of sugarcane on the basis of sugar recovery from cane and in Sindh sugar recovery of sugarcane is higher than in Punjab. He said the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) have announced procurement price of sugarcane at Rs 180 per 40 kg for 2014-15, whereas Sindh announced a price of Rs 182 per 40 kg sugarcane crop.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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