Sugar industry body ISMA has demanded that the government should allow exports of 80 lakh tonnes of the sweetener in the 2022-23 marketing year starting October in view of surplus production.
Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) president Aditya Jhunjhunwala has written a letter to food and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal in this regard.
In the current 2021-22 marketing year ending September, the government has allowed sugar exports of 112 lakh tonnes, and mills are likely to ship the entire quantities.
In May, the government imposed restrictions on the export of sugar beyond 100 lakh tonnes, but later allowed another 12 lakh tonnes of shipments, taking the total to 112 lakh tonnes for 2021-22.
The sugar marketing year or season runs from October to September.
“We would like to request the government to allow 80 lakh tonnes of exports for 2022-23 SS (Sugar Season) …,” the ISMA President said in the letter.
As per preliminary estimate, Jhunjhunwala said the net sugar production, without considering the diversion of sugar for production of ethanol, is expected to increase to about 400 lakh tonnes in 2022-23 from 394 lakh tonnes in the current marketing year.
However, he said 45 lakh tonnes of sugar are expected to get diverted for ethanol in 2022-23 marketing year as against 34 lakh tonnes in the current marketing year.
This means that actual sugar production in 2022-23 would be 355 lakh tonnes, the ISMA president said.
“Therefore, after considering domestic sugar consumption of 275 lakh tonnes in the next season (2022-23), it becomes imperative to export at least 80 lakh tonnes of surplus sugar out of the country in order to maintain optimum sugar balance in the country,” Jhunjhunwala said.
The exports of surplus sugar would also help in maintaining domestic sugar prices, which in turn boost liquidity position of mills enabling them to pay sugarcane farmers on time.
The ISMA president mentioned that the sugarcane crushing operations in 2022-23 marketing year is expected to start from October first week itself because of huge cane availability.
Jhunjhunwala urged the government to announce the export policy for 2022-23 marketing year at the earliest so that mills can enter into future contracts and also plan their production in advance.
India’s sugar exports stood at 70 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 marketing year, 59 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 and 38 lakh tonnes in 2018-19.