Sugar exports could face challenges this season

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The sector is now on its feet and government intervention year after year will decrease.

Food and Public Distribution Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Tuesday that India’s sugar exports could face challenges in the 2021-22 season, even though 1.8 million tonnes had already been contracted at the start of the season itself.

Speaking to the All India Sugar Traders Association (AISTA) on Global Sugar, he said last year India was able to export 7.2 million tonnes of sweetener to various destinations and nearly 50 % of that amount went to three countries – Indonesia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. .

“These countries have different dynamics this year. Thai production is likely to increase this time around and Thai sugar will therefore try to regain its lost market in Indonesia. Indian sugar will again have to compete with the Indonesian market. Instability in Afghanistan can impact our exports to the country and Sri Lanka has a huge shortage of foreign currency. And therefore, a new arrangement will have to be thought out by the industry so that the export market is also served, ”he observed.

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Pandey said the country plans to divert around 3.5 million tonnes for ethanol production next year and that by 2023 the goal is for at least 6 million tonnes of sugar to be diverted for ethanol production. But at the same time, we are also looking for new export opportunities, he explained.

More than 50 million farmers and their families depend on the sugar sector and an appropriate pricing policy must be encouraged for the sugar sector. The Food Secretary expressed hope that sugar production this year would be in line with estimates and that average cane recovery increases as farmers use better varieties and techniques for planting cane.

Subodh Singh, co-secretary of sugar, said that over the past 10 years, the country has produced a sugar surplus every year and has become a structural sugar surplus country. This created challenges for the country. “The opening stock in 2019-2020 was 14.5 million tonnes, then in 2021 the opening stock was 11 million tonnes and this season it could be around 9 million tonnes. The opening stock is decreasing every year due to our policies of exporting and diverting sugar cane to ethanol, ”he said. The sector is now on its feet and government intervention year after year will decrease.

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Singh said the government also expects exports of nearly 6 million tonnes in the 2021-22 season. “In 2019-20 India exported around 6 million tonnes and in 2020-21 the country exported 7 million tonnes. Next year, we anticipate an additional 6 million tonnes in 2021-2022 to liquidate excess sugar, ”he said.

Singh said that this year total production is estimated at 34 million tonnes and that around 3.5 million tonnes could be diverted for ethanol production, 6 million tonnes for exports and the overall balance is expected be 7 million tonnes since domestic consumption is around 26.5 million tonnes. He urged factories to export at least 15-20% of their production so that domestic sugar prices stabilize and factories are able to pay farmers. He also said the government would not provide any export support this season and urged the industry to educate consumers to increase sugar consumption as well.

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