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Sugarcane availability and prospects - 1991-1992.

Sugarcane Availability and Prospects - 1991-92

Sugarcane crushing by the sugar mills for the season 1991-92 has begun. Although Pakistan Sugar Mills Association had earlier decided to delay the crushing till mid-November but Government's sudden decision to import sugar during Sept-Oct. forced a number of sugar mills to start crushing earlier than scheduled.

The crushing season 1991-92 is shrouded with clouds of uncertainties about the adequate availability of sugarcane to the mills. Pakistan's sugar industry is up against many other odds. The year 1991-92 will prove to be a time-testing period of the sugar industry's success story specially for the smaller sugar-mills. The mad-rush to establish new sugar-mills in recent times is likely to rip apart the elements of economics and politics in the success story. By the time season closes in March-April, 1992, it may well prove that there was more of politics than economics in the success story of sugar industry in Pakistan.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Cooperatives has released the final estimate of sugarcane crop acreage and production for the year 1990-91. It places the acreage at 903,000 hectares during 1990-91 showing an increase of 5.7 per cent compared to 1989-90 while sugarcane production is placed at 37.60 million metrictonnes for the year 1990-91 indicating an increase of 5.9% over last year. Major increase in sugarcane acreage and production during the year 1990-91 was registered in the province of the Punjab i.e. 547,400 hectares and 20.60 million metric tonnes showing increase of 9.3% and 10.3% respectively over those of previous year. Sindh recorded a nominal increase of only 1.0% in sugarcane acreage and 1.2% increase in sugarcane production during 1990-91 compared to last year. Position in NWFP during 1990-91 shows almost a stagnant position at 102,300 hectares and 4.43 million metric tonnes. These are latest authentic data on sugarcane acreage and production.

Province-wise details shows some more interesting features as outlined below:

Punjab: Sugarcane Acreage and Production
 Acreage % Increase % Increase
 (000 (Over last Production (Over last
Divisions hectares) year) (000 M.T.) year)
Rawalpindi 0.3 -25.0 8.7 -15.5
Sargodha 61.0 1.3 2,322.3 2.9
Faisalabad 158.7 8.0 6,370.6 10.8
Gujranwala 58.1 - 0.2 2,188.6 - 0.2
Lahore 91.3 15.3 3,669.0 15.5
Multan 61.5 10.0 2,325.5 9.8
D.G. Khan 24.9 5.5 762.1 8.2
Bahawalpur 91.6 19.3 2,957.6 19.6
Punjab: 547.4 9.3 20,604.4 10.3


The Division of Faisalabad (district Faisalabad, T.T. Singh and Jhang) alone accounts for about one-third of sugarcane acreage and production of the entire Province of Punjab. Next higher acreage and production of sugarcane has been recorded in the Divisions of Lahore and Bahawalpur. District Kasur has registered an increase of 23.2% in sugarcane production during the year under review. Lahore Division's overall increase in Sugarcane production was recorded at 15.5% compared to last year. This is equivalent to growth in sugarcane production recorded in the district Muzaffargarh. However, the largest increase in sugarcane acreage and production in sugarcane during 1990-91 was recorded in the district Multan showing an increase of 35.4% in acreage and 33.0% in cane production compared to last year. The Division of Bahawalpur was rather the best with a recorded increase of 19.6% in sugarcane production during 1990-91.

Division-wise acreage and production alongwith percentage increase compared to last year are summarised in the above table.

The Ministry has attributed favourable climatic conditions and good water supply for the increase in acreage and production of sugarcane during 1990-91.


The Division of Hyderabad alone accounts for three-fourth of the total sugarcane acreage and production of the province of Sindh. The district Hyderabad and Badin are the major sugarcane supplying areas in the Division of Hyderabad rather in entire Sindh. The district Hyderabad recorded only an increase of 0.6% in sugar production during 1990-91 compared to last year while district Badin registered an increase of only 1.4% sugarcane production. Sugarcane availability prospects in Sindh, therefore, is rather grim as more and more sugar mills are coming-up. This is true specially for the sugar mills in the southern part of Sindh. In the north of Sindh, i.e. Sukkur Division, the position is relatively better. The Division of Sukkur is the next important sugarcane growing area (production of sugarcane in Sukkur Division was 3.00 million M.T. during 1990-91). Sugar-mills concentration is far and few.

Division-wise position of sugarcane acreage and production in Sindh Province is summarised in the table below:

Sindh: Sugarcane Acreage and Production
 Acreage % Increase % Increase
 (000 (over last Production (Over last
Division hectares) year) (000 M.T.) year)
Sukkur 69.3 1.8 3,008.2 1.8
Larkana 1.4 0.0 12.1 - 1.4
Hyderabad 182.4 0.7 9,460.8 1.1
Sindh: 253.1 1.0 12,511.1 1.2

The prospects of sugarcane availability in Sindh for the crushing season 1991-92 are not bright as spring-plantation was adversely affected because of virtually dry season during current year of 1991.


Sugarcane availability position in NWFP and northern areas during 1990-91 did not improve much and recorded increase in acreage and production was less than one (1) percent. Districts Peshawar and Charsadda in Peshawar Division and district Mardan in Mardan Division accounts for over 86% of total sugarcane acreage and production in NWFP and northern areas. Sugarcane production in district Mardan was 1.44 million M.T. during 1990-91 which was higher by 1.9% compared to last year. In districts of Peshawar and Charsadda total sugar-production during 1990-91 was 2.48 million M.T. which was only higher by 0.2% compared to last year.

Division/Agency-wise acreage and production of sugarcane in NWFP and Northern areas during 1990-91 is as under:

NWFP: Sugarcane Acreage and Production
 Acreage % Increase % Increase
Division/ (000 (over last Production (over last
Agency hectares) year) (000 M.T.) year)
Peshawar 51.2 0.2 2,485.9 0.2
Mardan 35.0 0.3 1,443.1 1.8
Kohat 0.5 0.0 15.6 1.3
Malakand 6.0 0.0 212.4 0.3
D.I. Khan 6.5 1.6 227.9 1.7
FATA 2.9 - 3.3 75.1 4.2
Hazara 0.2 0.0 5.6 5.7
NWFP: 102.3 0.2 4,465.6 0.1


Balochistan is not a sugarcane growing Province. However, 5000 hectares of land were sown with sugarcane in districts Sibi (2000 hectares), Tamboo (1000 hectares), Jafferabad (1000 hectares) and Kalat (1000 hectares) during 1990-91 showing no increase compared to previous year. Sugarcane production in the entire province during 1990-91 was 22,700 M.T. showing a decline of 3.0% compared to last year.

The Prospects for 1991-92

With the advent of the crushing season 1991-92, there will be a total of 52 sugar mills in operation in the country (including recently commissioned Chashma Sugar Mills in district D.I. Khan) with a total cane crushing capacity of 161,000 metrictonnes per day (TCD). Province-wise break-up of TCD is as under:

TCD: Province-wise (1991-92)
 No. of TCD
Province Mills (1991-92)
Punjab 24 76,000
Sindh 22 70,000
NWFP 6 15,000
TOTAL: 52 161,000

On the basis of average number of days of operation during a season, total cane requirement of the sugar-mills can be worked out. This exercise shows that against the season's total requirement of 26.76 million metric tonnes during 1990-91, actual cane crushed by the sugar-mills during the season 1990-91 was 22.64 million metric tonnes indicating shortage of cane availability.

It may be noted that average number of days of a sugar-mill's operation on province-wise basis as actually performed during 1990-91 is against the established norms. Duration of crushing season in Sindh is generally known to be longer that in the Punjab i.e. 180 days in Sindh and 160 days in the Punjab but in actual practice the situation was reversed. Shrunken duration of cane-crushing season in Sindh may partly be attributed to commissioning of two new mills i.e. Ansari and Matiari which operated for lesser number of days but mostly because the mills in Sindh were closed early due to non-availability of cane during 1990-91 season. Exactly an identical situation was experienced in NWFP. Against the total availability of 4.46 million metric tonnes of cane, the mills in NWFP could not crush even one million metric tonnes. Either the cane production statistics are inaccurate or 80% of cane produced in NWFP is diverted towards gur-making. In the Punjab, mills with higher TCD faired well while the smaller mills could not procure the required quantities of cane.

Near Saturated Situation

We are reaching a near saturated situation with regard to cane availability in all the three provinces. There may be a few pockets or zones of surplus cane in lower Punjab or Northern Sindh but by and large, we have reached |cane deficit' position. With the existing cane acreage, per acre yield, varietal-mix and crop-practices, there will be no cane for the smaller mills in the Punjab and Sindh. Assuming cane production and availability levels of 1990-91 will be maintained during 1991-92 and after making provisions for seeds, other uses, wastages etc., virtually no cane will be available for a dozen of new mills coming-up in near future. The table above summarises near saturation position in the Punjab and Sindh. Mills in NWFP may survive provided gur-making activity is curtailed.

It may be seen that in Sindh 96% of cane produced have been made available to the sugar-mills. Any new mill coming in Sindh will survive only at the cost of existing sugar mills. In the Punjab, there is a surplus of 4.35 million metric tonnes of cane which is good enough for only four BMR&E cases of existing mills but no cane will be left for gur-making. There is no scope of any new mills in the Punjab as well. NWFP, perhaps, is a province where the prospects of sugar mills appear safe in future provided gurmaking is curtailed.


The year 1991-92 may prove to be the beginning of a crisis for the sugar industry in Pakistan as far as sugarcane availability is concerned. With the given sugarcane acreage, level of productivity and procurement system, the prospect of cane availability for the sugar mills in the Punjab and Sindh are not bright for the current crushing season of 1991-92. While the existing sugar mills are doubling their cane-crushing capacity, there is a great rush for establishing new sugar mills in the Punjab and Sindh for which there is no prospect of cane availability. New capital, being invested by DFIs in new sugar mills, are exposing them selves and to the national economy, to great risks. Either the new mills will not be able to survive because of unprecedented competition for cane-grabbing and rising cost of manufacturing or these will force the existing mills to closure. In either case, it will be a national loss.

Sugarcane Requirement and Actual Cane-Crushed During 1990-91
 (Milion M. Tons)
 Aggregate Av. Dura- Total Actual
 No. of No. of tion Per Cane Re- Cane
Province Mills (Operated) Mill (Day quirement Crushed
Punjab 24 4308 180 13.68 12.10
Sindh 22 3522 160 11.20 9.60
NWFP 5 625 125 1.88 0.90
TOTAL: 51 8455 166 26.76 22.60
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Title Annotation:Pakistan
Author:Ahmad, Aftab
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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