Government to consider hike in sugar import duty, cut export duty
NEW DELHI: The government today said it will take appropriate steps to curb sugar imports and facilitate surplus exports in order to check falling wholesale prices of sweetener and ensure timely payment to cane farmers.
Sugar industry bodies ISMA and NFCSF today met senior food ministry officials and sought hike in sugar import duty from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and scrapping of export duty of 20 per cent to liquidate surplus sugar.
Wholesale prices have fallen below the cost of production in view of estimated 6 million tonnes more production in the 2017-18 season (October-September), they said. In retail, sugar is being sold at Rs 40-42/kg.
"The government is considering both the proposals. We are quite agreeable to what the industry is saying, but we will do at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner," a senior food ministry official told PTI when asked about the industry's demand.
The ministry is collecting the data and working out details on both the proposals, the official added.
National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) President Dilip Walse Patil said: "The ex-factory prices of sugar have come down to Rs 2,950/quintal from Rs 3,500-3,650/quintal. This has led to a net loss of Rs 6-7 per kg. We have sought timely intervention from the government."
If ex-factory prices of sugar fall further, mills will not be in a position to make payment to cane growers. In fact in Maharashtra, mills will be unable to pay Rs 200-300 per quintal over and above the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) as agreed earlier, he told at a press meet.
ISMA Vice President Rohit Pawar said, "There will not only be delay in cane payment but also arrears will increase by end of the season."
India's sugar production has been revised upward by 4 per cent to Rs 26.1 million tonnes for the 2017-18 season.