Subsidy on Sugar Cane Retracted, Price Hike Anticipated
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Tuesday directed the agriculture department to work out a sugar cane price acceptable to growers and millers, because the government will no longer give any subsidy on sugar cane that cost the exchequer Rs3,989.8 million last year.
“Keep close coordination with the growers and the millers and also check sugar cane prices in the other provinces such as Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he advised agriculture secretary Shahid Gulzar Shaikh.
The chief minister said: “I will appreciate if sugar mills start the crushing season on time, as delay always causes loss to the growers and the millers equally.”
Mr Shah was presiding over an agriculture department meeting to discuss a new sugar cane price and review overall cane production this year.
Chief secretary Siddique Memon, principal secretary to the chief minister Alamuddin Bullo, agriculture secretary Shahid Gulzar Shaikh, finance secretary Sohail Rajpput, cane commissioner Agha Zaheer, adviser on law Murtaza Wahab, law secretary Mir Mohammad Shaikh, Murtaza Wahab and others attended the meeting.
Govt withdraws subsidy on sugar cane
The chief minister said there were differences between the cane growers and the millers on the price issues last year. “This year I want you to settle this issue [price] amicably. This time the Sindh government would not give any subsidy on its price,” he said categorically.
The chief minister said there were some complaints that the subsidy given by the government had not trickled down to the growers completely. On this, the agriculture secretary said about 98.9 per cent of the amount, Rs3,857.114 million, had been disbursed and the remaining amount of Rs48.686 million would be given to the 555 remaining growers. He added that last year the Sindh government had given a subsidy of Rs3,989.8 million and that benefited 41,047 growers.
While briefing the chief minister, agriculture secretary Shaikh said the agriculture minister had held a meeting with the growers to ascertain the price. “We are still working to work out a price acceptable to the growers as well as the millers,” he said.
The chief secretary said there was a scientific method to work out the sugar cane price. According to available data, more than eight kilos of sugar was produced by crushing 100 kilos of sugar cane. “We have to work out total expenditures of the mills on the production of one-kilo sugar plus their 15 per cent profit and then have to check the ex-mill price of one kg sugar. This calculation would help to ascertain the sugar price most likely to be acceptable to both parties,” he said.
Replying to a question of the chief minister, the agriculture secretary said sugar cane was grown over 316,749 hectares last year while this year the cultivated land increased to 318,000 hectares. “This indicates an increase in growth in production and approximately yield would be around 18,858,672 tonnes, “ he said.
He directed the agriculture department to personally monitor the disbursement and ensure the fund must reach genuine growers only.
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