Food first: After wheat, Modi government curbs sugar export

Only 10 millon tonnes can be exported in the remainder of current season ending September

By Shagun
Published: Wednesday 25 May 2022

India has restricted the export of sugar to maintain domestic stocks and keep prices stable. Only up to 10 million tonnes of exports will be allowed from June 1 through September, when the current season ends, according to a May 24 order from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The order followed a near-total ban on wehat exports to maintain “food security” that the government brought May 13.

The latest order stated:

Taking into consideration unprecedented growth in exports of sugar and the need to maintain sufficient stock of sugar in the country as well as to safeguard interests of the common citizens of the country by keeping prices of sugar under check, Government of India has decided to regulate sugar exports wef 01 June 2022. Sugar mills and exporters need to take approvals in form of Export Release Orders (EROs) from the Directorate of Sugar, Department of Food and Public Distribution. 

India is the second-largest exporter of sugar, after Brazil.

The government order called the export of sugar in the current 2021-22 season “historically highest” and cited “record exports of sugar” for its decision. 

It added that:

In sugar seasons 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, only about 6.2 LMT (lakh metric tonnes), 38 LMT & 59.60 LMT of sugar was exported. In the sugar season 2020-21 against a target of 60 LMT about 70 LMT have been exported. In the current sugar season 2021-22, contracts for export of about 90 LMT have been signed, about 82 LMT sugar has been dispatched from sugar mills for export and approx. 78 LMT have been exported. 

The decision will ensure 6-6.5 million tonnes closing stock by the the end of the sugar season (September 30) — enough for two-three months’ domestic use. The Centre pegged monthly requirements at around 2.4 million tonnes. 

Crushing for the new season is expected to start in the last week of October in Karnataka, followed by Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. 

Wholesale prices of sugar have been between Rs 3,150 and -Rs 3,500 per quintal; the commodity has been retailing at Rs 36-44 per kilogramme.

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