Agriculture Industry

Sugar exports capped at 10 mt to ensure ample supplies during festivals: Food Secretary

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26 May 2022, New Delhi: A day after capping sugar export at 10 million tonnes (mt) for the current sugar season, the Government on Wednesday said unlike wheat shipments that were prohibited, the policy with regard to sugar is to monitor the movement of the commodity out of the country so that there is no problem with regard to domestic availability.

Briefing media on the necessity of putting the curb, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said: “Please take it out of mind that it is any kind of curb. The idea is to prevent undue spike and make prices stable, besides ensuring the requisite availability during festival. If there are no sugar left during October-November, what do you do?”

The Centre on Tuesday announced that sugar (raw, refined and white sugar) exports from June 1 would be allowed only through permits and fixed a maximum quantity of 10 mt for this season (October-September). The order, issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) late night, will be valid until October 31.

However, sugar being exported to the EU and the US under CXL and tariff rate quota (TRQ), respectively, is exempt from these curbs.

Export deals

In the current season, about 8.2 mt have been dispatched from sugar mills of which a record 7.8 mt have been already shipped so far, whereas a record 9 mt has been contracted. 

Sugar mills and exporters need to take approvals in the form of an export Release Order (RO) from the Directorate of Sugar in the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution. 

While mills need to dispatch sugar within 30 days of issuance of RO, exporters need to complete shipments within 90 days. 

The Food Ministry has asked all sugar mills to submit online information about dispatches for export to determine the quantity for issuance of ROs. 

In case of exports through bulk or break-bulk vessels, if the shipping bill is filed and vessels have already berthed or arrived and anchored in Indian ports and their rotation number has been allocated as on May 31, such vessels shall continue to proceed for the loading without any approval or RO, an official said. Highlighting that India has emerged this year as the world’s largest sugar producer, ahead of Brazil and also the second biggest exporter, Pandey said the closing stock at end of this season would be 6.2 mt (after factoring 10 mt exports), enough to take care of demand in the lean period of October-December.

New season

Crushing in new season starts in the last week of October in Karnataka and by the first week of November in Maharashtra, whereas it is post-Diwali in Uttar Pradesh. During the start of a new season, supply takes place from the previous season for at least first two months. 

While ex-mill prices of sugar are ruling at ₹32-33 per kg, the retail prices are hovering between ₹33 and ₹44 per kg depending on the region, Pandey said.

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