Despite the cane crushing season ending last month, sugar mills in Punjab have not cleared dues of growers that have piled up to Rs21 billion.
Sources told Pakistan Today that 37 out of 39 sugar mills have to pay more than Rs21 billion to cane growers.
As of March 15, 2022, the payment pending against Ashraf Sugar Mills (SM) is Rs458 million, Adam (SM) Rs743 million and Hamza (SM) Rs1.467 billion.
Similarly, the dues of farmers against the Jahangir Tareen’s JDW-1 as well as JDW-II are Rs1.528 billion and Rs781 million respectively.
Meanwhile, Etihad (SM) has held Rs2.54 billion R.Y Khan (SM) Rs2.582 billion, Layyah (SM) Rs117 million, Fatima (SM) Rs768 million, Seikhoo (SM) Rs1.244 billion, Tandlianwala-II (SM) Rs740 million and Indus (SM) Rs229 million.
The Channar sugar mill is yet to pay Rs524 million, Rasool Nawaz sugar mill Rs574 million, Hunza-I sugar mill Rs151 million, Husein sugar mill Rs491 million, Tandlianwala-I sugar mill Rs847 million to cane growers.
Similarly, the payment pending against the Haq Bahu sugar mill is Rs52.55 million, Kashmir sugar mill Rs325 million, Shakarhang-I sugar mill Rs285 million, Shakarhang-II sugar mill Rs317 million.
The ruling Sharif Brothers’ sugar mill has also yet to make payments to cane growers as their Ramzan (SM) has to pay Rs955.2 million.
Meanwhile, Madina (SM) has to pay Rs437.7 million, Safina (SM) Rs186.1 million and Two-star (SM) Rs207.3 million to cane growers.
The payments against the Gung Buksh (SM) as of March 15, 2022, are Rs20.8 million, Shahtaj (SM) Rs808.1 million, and Macca (SM) 34.5 million, Pattoki (SM) Rs390 million and Seven Star (SM) Rs94.3 million.
The JK (SM) has also owed Rs238 million, Abdullah s(SM) Rs124 million, and Baba Farid (SM) Rs114.2 million.
Documents available with this scribe show that Al Arabia (SM) Rs478 million, SW (SM) Rs159 million, Popular (SM) Rs204 million, Darya Khan SM Rs300million, Jauharabad SM Rs132.9 million and Al-Moiaz-II (SM) also owed Rs59.5 million payments of cane growers.
Documents show that two sugar mills including Noon and Hunza-II have cleared all the dues of cane growers.
Sources said that sugar mills are bound to make payments to growers within two weeks of ending of the crashing season and the non-payment of dues may negatively affect the farmers’ Kharif cropping season (which starts from April 1 and ends in September) and its major crops include sugarcane, cotton, rice and maize.
Sugar production during the current season has crossed 7.5 million metric tons against the demand of around 6.5 million metric tons, sources added.
Earlier, the Ministry of Industries used to depend on the sugar mills associations’ statistics but with the implementation of the FBR’s Track and Trace system, the government is getting the real-time production information from mills.
Senior Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Sugar Mill Association Iskander M. Khan has said that mills should make payments to farmers in time.
He suggested the incumbent government export one million tones of sugar not only to stabilize the market but to make payments to farmers in Punjab and Sindh. The government of Pakistan will earn around $600 million, he added.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of statistics, the sugar price at the weekend of April 21, 2022, was recorded at Rs85 to 90 rupees in different cities per KG.
It is worth mentioning here that PM Shahbaz Sharif announced banning the export of sugar after emerging that Utility Stores Corporation has quietly increased the sugar prices.