LAHORE: The Punjab government has not changed the purchase price of sugarcane, keeping it at Rs180 per 40 kilograms, for the crushing season 2015-16. The crushing season has already started across country. According to a notification, issued here on Saturday, fixing minimum purchase price of sugarcane was necessary under Section 16(i) of the Punjab Sugar Factories Control Act, 1950. The notification said the minimum price of sugarcane at the factory gate and the cane purchase centres had been fixed at Rs180 per 40 kilograms, or Rs450 per 100 kilograms (per quintal), or Rs4,500 per metric ton for crushing season 2015-16. The sugar mills may deduct from the purchase price the transportation charges, incurred by them on the cane purchased at purchase centres and other locations, away from the factory gate at the rate of Rs1.25 per quintal per kilometre subject to a maximum deduction of 40 kilometres from the factory gate.
Similarly, the government has not changed the sugarcane development cess, maintained at Rs3 per 40kg, or Rs7.5 per quintal, or Rs75 per metric ton. The incidence of the cess amount would be equally shared by the sugar mills and the growers, selling sugarcane to the mill. In case the sugarcane is obtained from the sugar mills’ own farm, the cess should be paid by the mill.Punjab Cane Commissioner Nasir Mehmood told The News the cost of sugarcane production has declined due to reduction in diesel prices and increase in per acre yield productivity. He said millers had demanded level playing field for them. According to an official, per acre yield of sugarcane crop has increased during the last five years. They said it has now substantially increased by over 140 maunds per acre, following provision of better quality seed by mills to growers.
An Agriculture Department official said the Sugarcane Research Institute, Faisalabad, has extensively been working on the seed development while the sugar millers are also supporting various seed development initiatives. As a result of joint efforts, the productivity of sugarcane is on the rise, he said adding that around 55,000 metric-ton seed was provided by the sugar mills in the province. He said better seed also increases the sugar recovery, which makes the sugar mills competitive. This year sugarcane has been cultivated on 1,733,000-acre land in Punjab which is slightly higher than last year’s 1720,000 acres.