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National

RKD
Riaz Khan Daudzai
December 7, 2017

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Delay in sugarcane crushing: KP likely to face shortfall of 500,000 tonnes wheat

Delay in sugarcane crushing: KP likely to face shortfall of 500,000 tonnes wheat

PESHAWAR: The growers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fear that delay in the crushing of sugarcane crop by the millers will result in wasting the time for sowing the wheat crop which will cause a decrease of 0.5 million tonnes of wheat production in the province.
The growers’ bodies, including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Agriculture (KPCA), have said the delay in cultivation of wheat crop would affect the production of various other crops, including vegetables.
Muhammad Zahir Khan, vice-president of the KPCA, told The News on Wednesday that the cold response of the sugar mills owners had caused concern among the growers who had time and again approached the provincial authorities to raise the matter with the federal government and the millers.
He said the millers were showing lukewarm attitude on the pretext that the price of sugar was lower in other countries than those in Pakistan and they would face losses if they purchased the crop at the rate being demanded by the growers.
However, the federal government, like previous years, has allowed a rebate of Rs9.30 per kilogram in Sindh and Punjab and also allowed the millers to export the produce, he added.
The Sindh government has fixed the rate of sugarcane at Rs182 per 40 kilogram and has asked sugar factories to start crushing of sugarcane.
Also, the Punjab government has fixed sugarcane rate at Rs 180 per 40 kilogram for the 2017-18 crushing season.
The Economic Coordination Committee on the recommendation of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has allowed the export of 1.5 million tonnes of sugar with a subsidy of Rs10.70 per kilogram.
Zahir Khan said that none of the seven sugar mills in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including the Khazana Sugar Mills Peshawar, Premier Sugar Mills Mardan, Bannu Sugar Mills Serai Naurang, Al-Moiz Sugar Mills Dera Ismail Khan, Tandlianwala Sugar Mills Dera Ismail Khan, and Chashma Sugar Mills Dera Ismail Khan has started crushing. He pointed out that the sowing season for the early varieties of wheat was about to end and the growers needed to harvest the sugarcane as soon as possible to make space for wheat crop.
The provincial government on Tuesday directed the millers to pay Rs180 per 40 kilogram as minimum support price of sugarcane at the factory gate and Rs180 per 40 kilogram minus transportation charges at the farmers’ fields for the crushing season. However, the government has not given any date to the millers to start crushing the crop.
Zahir Khan said the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should forthwith announce rebate for the millers and raise the support price for the current sugarcane crushing season so that it could immediately be started.
He demanded the government to fix minimum support price of sugarcane at Rs230 per 40 kilogram to save the growers form losses. “The government should also direct the millers to commence the crushing season without any further delay,” he maintained.
Zahir Khan said sugarcane crop has been cultivated on more than 300,000 acres of land in the Peshawar and Mardan divisions and its production is expected to be around five million tonnes in the current season.
The KPCA vice-president said the growers intended to sow early varieties of wheat crop on over 70 percent of the land currently under the sugarcane crop.
He noted that the growers feared they would not be able to sow even late varieties of the wheat crop as they have yet to harvest their sugarcane, he pointed out.

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