Govt allows southern mills to import 3 lakh tonnes raw sugar

| Updated on: Sep 07, 2017
image caption

ISMA projects a24-per cent rise in output in 2017-18

The government on Thursday allowed the import of 3,00,000 tonnes of raw sugar to tide over the shortage of the sweetener in the South Indian States.

This import, at a rate of 25 per cent under the open general licence, would be used to augment the availability of sugar and stabilise the prices in these states, the Food Ministry said.

Import duty

Sugar, at present, attracts an import duty of 50 per cent, making it unattractive. Earlier this year, the government allowed the import of 5,00,000 tonnes of duty-free sugar to boost the domestic supply.

The import would be allowed through South Indian ports at Tuticorin, Karaikal, Chennai, Mangaluru, Kakinada, Gangavaram and Vishakhapatanam.

The ministry also said that millers and refiners, who have their own capacity to process raw sugar, would be allowed to import and that they have been given time till September 12 to apply to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade for the licence. Meanwhile, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) on Thursday projected an estimated 24 per cent increase in sugar production to 25.1 million tonnes in the next marketing year starting October.

The increase in production is on account of 9 per cent increase in area under sugarcane cultivation over the 2016 kharif season.

Sugar production in India, the world’s second-largest producer after Brazil, is estimated at 20.2-million tonnes in the ongoing 2016-17 marketing year (October-September), ISMA said.

Last week, the government announced stock limits on sugar mills in an effort to check spiralling of sugar prices during the forthcoming festive season.

Sugar mills in the country cannot hold more than 21 per cent of the total output of the current 2016-17 season in stock during September. This needs to be brought down further to 8 per cent by the end of October

The move is an attempt by the government to restrain sugar mills from hoarding up stocks in order to push up prices when the demand for the sweetener spikes during the festival season.

PTI adds:

International Sugar Organisation (ISO) Executive Director, Jose Orive, also said that India’s production will rise to 25-million tonnes from 20.5-million tonnes in 2016-17.

The global production will rise by 7 per cent to 179.3-million tonnes, while consumption will increase 1.7 per cent to 174.7-million tonnes, according to ISO.

Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Principal Secretary, Sugarcane Development and Sugar Industry, Uttar Pradesh, said the output of sugar in the State will rise to 10.3-million tonnes in 2017-18 from 8.8-million tonnes in the current year. He said the crushing is expected to start in some parts of UP from October 10.

Published on January 10, 2018

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