Weigh sugar stocks to appeal for more exports: government panel

The inter-ministerial food committee has recommended an assessment of the stock of sugar available in the country. Based on this assessment, India could allow sugar mills to export more than 10 million tonnes, the permitted amount of sugar, to help them prevent contract defaults, according to people familiar with the matter.

“The decision could be made in the next few days,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

The current sugar export quota for this year is 10 million tonnes. However, the government may consider allowing the sale of additional sugar for the year ending September 30.

On May 24, the government had restricted sugar exports to control rising prices and ensure a sufficient carryover stock of 6.2 tons after diversion to ethanol. Carryover stocks are important to control prices and ensure the availability of sugar in the domestic market.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has written to the food secretary again asking the government to allow further exports of 1 tonne of raw sugar that the mills produced before the export cap was announced.

India consumes on average about 2.3 tons of sugar per month.

The crushing of the new season cane begins in three major sugar producing states – Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh – during the October-November period.

The new sugar does not come on the market until November or December. During this period, the country depends on sugar stocks from the previous year. Consumption also increases during this period due to the festival season.

India is now the second largest sugar exporter in the world after Brazil. As production in Brazil is low, Indian sugar is in high demand in the international market.

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