Pakistan awaits foreign investment in sugar industry

pakistan-flagPakistan is an agrarian society and two of its large scale industries, textiles and sugar, are agro based. While textile and clothing industry contributes around 60% to country’s exports, sugar industry remains the driving engine of rural economy.

Two of the leading sugar producing countries, Brazil and India, are likely to face substantial reduction in sugarcane output due to drought like situation this year. As against this Pakistan is expected to get bumper sugarcane crop, especially in Sindh. Historically, the province has been producing sugar much above the demand and also has the potential to export sugar as well as molasses.

It is important to note that Pakistan has an installed capacity to produce 9 million tons sugar annually as against an estimated demand of around 4 million tons. However, the mills have been working at around 50% capacity utilization due to shortfall in sugarcane production.

Pakistan looks forward to those foreign investors who can help in achieving higher sugarcane production by boosting yield. At present the country gets around 55,000tons/per hectare, which is low as compared to the global average. While recovery in Sindh ranges from 8.5% to over 10.5%, recovery in Punjab hovers from 7.5% to around 10.5%.

Ideally, Pakistani millers intend to produce more molasses for export because its local consumption is relatively low. The added advantage is that if the country succeeds in boosting production of molasses and ethanol. Popularizing E-10 use will also enable the mills to crush more sugarcane, which will improve production of sugar in the country. Better capacity utilization will help in optimizing cost of sugar production.

Pakistan also faces acute shortage of electricity and sugar mills can collectively deliver more than 3,000MW electricity. If this option is used not only income of mills will improve but earnings of mills as well as farmers will also improve.

 

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