India has exported about 70 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of sugar in sugar season 2020-21 in comparison to 59.60 LMT of sugar export in sugar season 2019-20, which is an increase of 17.45%, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha informed today.
Against the estimated domestic consumption of 270 LMT in the current sugar season 2021-22, the sugar production is estimated to be around 308 LMT after discounting the diversion of 35 LMT of sugar to ethanol.
With a view to liquidate surplus sugar stock available with sugar mills thereby improving the liquidity of sugar mills enabling them to make timely payment of cane dues of farmers, the Government is encouraging sugar mills to export surplus sugar and to divert surplus sugarcane and sugar to ethanol. In the previous sugar season 2020-21, about 70 LMT of sugar has been exported and approximately 22 LMT of sugar has been diverted to ethanol, the minister further said..
Data regarding the financial condition of any sugar factory (co-operative, private or public undertaking) is not maintained by DFPD (Department of Food and Public Distribution). However, with a view to improve the liquidity position of sugar mills including co-operative sugar mills of the country, the Government has been taking various interventions from time to time such as provided assistance to sugar mills to offset the cost of cane, fixation of the minimum selling price of sugar, extended financial assistance to sugar mills for maintenance of buffer stocks, extended financial assistance to sugar mills to facilitate the export of sugar and extended soft loans to sugar mills, Niranjan Jyoti further informed the lower house of Indian parliament.
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Further, in order to improve the liquidity of sugar mills and to make the sugar sector self-sustainable, Government is encouraging sugar mills to divert excess sugarcane and sugar to ethanol which is blended with petrol. In past four sugar seasons 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21; about Rs. 35,000 crore revenue has been generated by sugar mills and distilleries from the sale of ethanol to oil marketing companies (OMCs) which has helped in clearing cane price arrears of farmers, the minister said.
The Central government, with a view to facilitate the export of sugar thereby improving the liquidity of sugar mills enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers, has extended assistance to sugar mills in sugar seasons 2015-16, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21. An amount of approximately ₹12,900crore has been released to various sugar mills on account of assistance to facilitate the export of sugar since sugar season 2015-16. As a result, about 16.5 LMT, 6.2 LMT, 38 LMT, 59.60 LMT and 70 LMT have been exported in sugar seasons 2015-16, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively. Due to the global deficit of sugar, prices of sugar in the international market are now stable due to which export of sugar is presently viable even without extending assistance; contracts of about 30 LMT for export of sugar have already been signed in the current sugar season 2021-22, she added.
Further, to facilitate export surplus sugar from the country, custom duties on the export of sugar has been reduced to zero by the Central government.