CM asks agriculture department to work out a price that is acceptable to both growers and mill owners
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has directed the agriculture department to work out an acceptable sugarcane price for growers and millers because the government will not give any subsidy on sugarcane this year.
The CM issued these directives while presiding over a meeting of the agriculture department that was convened to discuss pricing and review the overall cane crop. The meeting was attended by chief secretary Siddique Memon, principal secretary to the CM, Alamuddin Bullo, agriculture secretary Shahid Gulzar Shaikh, finance secretary Sohail Rajpput and cane commissioner Agha Zaheer.
The chief minister said that last year, there was a dispute between the growers and millers on the issue of sugarcane price. “This year I want you to settle this issue [price] amicably. This time, the Sindh government will not give any subsidy on its price,” he said.
Read: Sugarcane: Fix pricing now, CM tells growers and millers
Agriculture secretary Shahid Gulzar Shaikh, briefing the chief minister, said that the agriculture minister had held a meeting with the growers to discuss the pricing formula. “We are still working out a price that would be acceptable for the growers as well as the millers,” he said.
Chief secretary Siddique Memon said that there is a scientific method to work out the sugarcane price. According to the available data, over eight kilogrammes of sugar is produced by crushing a 100 kilogramme cane. “We have to work out the total expenditure of a mill on the production of one kg sugar plus their 15 per cent profit and then have to check the ex-mill price of one kg of sugar. This calculation would help ascertain the sugar price most likely to be acceptable to both parties,” he said. There were 33 operational sugar mills in the province.
The chief minister directed the agriculture secretary to keep close coordination with growers and millers and also check the price of sugarcane in other provinces. “I will appreciate if sugar mills start crushing in time. Delays always cause losses to the growers and the millers equally,” he said.
In response to a question by the chief minister, the agriculture secretary said that last year, sugarcane was grown on an area of 316,749 hectares while this year it has been recorded at 318,000 hectares. “This shows an increase in production and the approximate yield would be around 18,858,672 tones,” he said.
The chief minister said that there were complaints that the subsidy given by the government last year had not trickled down to the growers. On this, the agriculture secretary said that around 98.9 per cent of the amount – Rs3.9 billion – had been disbursed and the remaining amount of Rs48.686 million was to be given to the 555 remaining growers.
The chief minister directed the agriculture department to personally monitor the disbursement and ensure the amount reached the growers.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2015.