Sugar Industry is the 2nd most important industry of Pakistan after cotton. Pakistan is self-sufficient in sugar, out of which most is consumed locally and the excess is even exported.
Pakistan inherited a weak base of sugar industry at the time of independence producing only 7,932 tons of sugar. The amount was insufficient for the local needs and so most of it had to be imported.
The Government paid attention to improve this sector and set up a commission with the purpose to developing a stronger sugar industry. As a result of all the consistent efforts now we have 75 sugar mills in Pakistan which are producing 2.5 million tons of sugar. The industry has given employment to around 100,000 people.
Most of sugar mills are present in Punjab and Sindh with 38 and 30 respectively, and only 6 are present in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As sugarcane needs to be pressed soon after it is harvested, so the mills are located very close to the sugarcane fields so that the stalks can be transported as quickly as possible.
After pressing the juice is used to make sugar while the left over named as ‘Bagasse’ is used to make chipboards, paper etc. and is also used as a source of power in the mills. Molasses is also a byproduct obtained during the process of sugar refining. Molasses is used in the chemical industry to make alcohol which is used in some medicines etc.
Sugar mills are facing a problem of lack of raw material as excess quantity of raw sugarcane is used for Gur making and for seeds. It should be only 25% of total sugarcane production used but around 37% of it is used. With the shortage of raw material and some bad planning of the officials, Pakistan has to import sugar from neighboring countries to fulfil its local consumption.