South Indian Sugar Mills Seek Duty-Free Import Of Raw Sugar
Sugar mills in Tamil Nadu expect a lower sugarcane crop for the coming season (October 2017 to September 2018) and have sought permission for duty-free import of raw sugar.
President of The South Indian Sugar Mills Association Palani G. Periyasamy told The Hindu that the sugar mills in the State, including 25 in the private sector, have the capacity to produce 30 lakh tonnes of sugar a year. In the forthcoming sugar season, the mills expect to produce just 5.5 lakh to six lakh tonnes, which is just about 20% of the capacity. This is because of the failure of the monsoons in the State last year.“We can manage only if we produce at least 15 lakh tonnes,” he said.
The Union Government permitted duty free import of five lakh tonnes of raw sugar in April and the State got 1.3 lakh tonnes of it. The current sugar stock with the mills is 2.79 lakh tonnes. The monthly off-take is approximately 1.5 lakh tonnes in the State. When the festival season starts, the consumption is expected to double. Though the sugar season starts in October, the Tamil Nadu mills would start crushing only by December. There would be shortage in the market and hence, the government should permit duty free imports of six lakh tonnes of raw sugar by the mills in the State. They could process one lakh to 1-1.5 lakh tonnes immediately.
Though some sugarcane-producing States expect a bumper crop, the landing price would not be viable for the mills here to get raw sugar from them. those States. “The mills in Tamil Nadu have suffered for the last three years and are under severe financial stress. We will find it extremely difficult to sustain this year. If we get processed sugar from other States, the costs would go up. Hence, import of raw sugar would help,” Mr. Periyasamy said.