Most sugar mills reluctant to start cane crushing this month.

HYDERABAD -- Although the Sindh government has asked the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) to direct its members to run their mills from Nov 20 and start cane crushing by Nov 29, most of them are reluctant to follow the directive.

Adviser to the chief minister on agriculture, Manzoor Hussain Wassan, had taken the decision while chairing a meeting at the Sindh Secretariat on Nov 10. It was attended by MPAs Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah and Shahina Sher Ali and agriculture secretary Ejaz Ahmed Mahesar, besides representatives of PSMA, Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB), Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) and farmers.

Cane growers, despite having been badly affected by recent floods that undermined their overall yield due to inundation of their lands, appeared desperate to start supplying their produce to the mills but most of the mills in Sindh are reluctant to start crushing in November.

The only exception is the Matiari Sugar Mills which has lived up to its tradition of starting crushing even without waiting for the government to notify the official indicative price of sugar cane.

Govt yet to notify official price; growers desperate to dispose of their produce to avoid losses

'We have started cane crushing on Nov 11,' said Matiari Sugar Mills management's senior representative Dost Mohammad Baloch. He said cane growers were being offered a rate of Rs250 per 40kg for their produce. This rate was officially fixed for last year's crop and the provincial government is yet to notify that of the current season.

Local cane growers, like Syed Nadeem Shah, reported that scores of cane-laden trolleys could be seen outside the Matiari Sugar Mills.

Mr Baloch agreed with him saying that around 2.5pc more sugar cane was at present available to his mills, which had the per day crushing capacity of 110,000 maunds. 'We are telling them to stop bringing more cane because the surplus produce will get dried and thus cause an additional loss to the growers, who have already suffered economically due to floods,' said Mr. Baloch. alluding to the fact that sugar cane price is paid to them on the basis of weightage and cane loses weight when it dries up.

Nadeem Shah clarified that the Matiari Sugar Mills was buying the produce at Rs250 per 40kg and when the government would notify the new rate, it would be effective from the date of the notification. He believes that any differential, in case the official rate turned out to be higher, would not be payable to the growers.


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