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  • Faran Sugar Mills fully committed to innovative approach, research and development

Interview with Mr. Riaz Javed Suleri — Resident Director, Faran Sugar Mills Limited

PAGE: Tell me something about yourself please:

Riaz Javed Suleri: I have been associated with the sugar industry for the last 40 years. Firstly in the public sector and now for the last 25 years with the private sector.

I am presently working as Resident Director of Faran Sugar Mills Limited where my main emphasis has been on innovative approach, research and development focussing on the grower’s economics. We at Faran, work in coordination with all research institutes in Pakistan, which ultimately consequence in an increase in yield per hectare to the tune of 75 per cent in our operational area. Training of growers as well as our staff on the latest agronomical practices and up-to-date technological advancement by way of seminars, workshops, regular village meetings is a regular feature of our development programme communication with cane growers through publications from time to time is a continuous routine.

Laser levelling, solar tube wells, soil sampling, double cropping and the introduction of the latest irrigation technologies like sprinkle irrigation are some of the main features.

PAGE: It is being claimed that sugar millers have earned over Rs500 billion over the course of one year. How would you comment on it?

Riaz Javed Suleri: This is a highly exaggerated figure and the same can be verified from the accounts submitted and printed by the stock exchanges. The fact of the matter is the price of sugar remains depressed in the whole summer season from Rs72 per kg to 92 per kg.

PAGE: Sugar is being sold for Rs80 per kg what is your standpoint about it?

Riaz Javed Suleri: At the last leg of the off-season increase in price to the level of Rs170 will not impact much on the wholesale value of the commodity present 20 per cent general sales tax and 28 per cent interest rate of the banks also contribute to this factor. The international market is also at Rs250-260 per kg.

PAGE: Your perspective about the export or import of sugar at this juncture to curtail prices.

Riaz Javed Suleri: The Government of Pakistan allowed the export of 250,000mt of sugar in FY-23 and 216,000mt has already been exported. The surplus stocks were available in FY-22 but no export was allowed. The export permission in FY-23 was allowed when the surplus stocks were available, due to record production and availability of stock was at a level of 9.1mt against consumption of 6.1mt and a dearth of Foreign exchange in the country. The present scenario is because of the prevailing international price, which is Rs250 to 260 per kg.

PAGE: What is your take on hoarding and smuggling of sugar?

Riaz Javed Suleri: The concept of hoarding by the sugar industry is highly misconstrued. The industry produces sugar within 3-4 months and the stocks are to be sold in the whole year. It has to be seen in this context and the present stocks which are enough for the remaining off-season do not fall in the preview of hoarding principles.

No doubt smuggling is one of the main reasons these days, for the shortage of stock suspicion. This needs to be addressed since it is attractive due to the high International market. But in order to address this problem, strict measures should be taken against smuggling at the borders. But to remain on the safer side we may import raw sugar before the start of the next crushing season, which will be the most economical solution to the problem expected to be faced next year.