Sufficient sugar availability ensured by govt, boosting domestic markets, says Food Secretary

New Delhi [India], September 14 (ANI): The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) in India has lauded the Government’s prompt actions, leading to a substantial availability of sugar at reasonable prices across the country.

While speaking to ANI, Secretary of DFPD, Sanjeev Chopra informed that as the current Sugar Season (Oct-Sep) 2022-23 approaches its end on September 30, 2023, India has achieved a remarkable sugar production of 330 LMT (Lakh Metric Tonnes), not including approximately 43 LMT diverted for ethanol production. This brings the total sucrose production in the country to approximately 373 LMT, marking it as the second-highest production in the last five sugar seasons.

He further said that to prioritise citizens and ensure fair treatment for farmers, India has imposed restrictions on sugar exports, with a quota of about 61 LMT. This strategic move has resulted in an optimal stockpile of roughly 83 LMT of sugar by the end of August 2023. This stock is estimated to be sufficient to cover approximately three and a half months of consumption, providing consumers with confidence that sugar will remain accessible at reasonable prices in the foreseeable future.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted normal monsoon conditions in September 2023, benefiting sugarcane-growing regions, particularly in Maharashtra and Karnataka. These favorable weather conditions are expected to boost crop yields and recovery for the upcoming Sugar Season 2023-24, he added.

Chopra said that State Cane Commissioners in sugar-producing states have been instructed to monitor crop status closely, including the area under cane cultivation, yield projections, and anticipated sugar production. This data will serve as the basis for future decisions regarding sugar export policies.

The Government’s primary objective has consistently been to ensure an abundant supply of sugar for domestic use and ethanol production, while maintaining a substantial closing balance at the season’s end. Only surplus sugar, when available, is permitted for export. This approach has consistently stabilized sugar prices in the domestic market and allowed Indian consumers to access sugar at competitive rates without government subsidies to sugar mills.

Moreover, as a proactive measure, the Indian government has sought information from various sugar mills regarding traders to establish a robust system for monitoring sugar stock levels across the country. Industry associations have also confirmed the adequacy of sugar stocks and commended the achievement of an optimal closing balance at the end of the season. This accomplishment has resulted in improved financial stability for sugar mills, enabling them to pay more than Rs 1.07 crores (94 per cent of cane dues for the current season) to farmers. This significant payment has generated enthusiasm among farmers and further solidified the strength of the Sugar Sector. (ANI)

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