The Indian government is expected to ban sugar exports due to a decline in production and to avoid any inflationary pressures in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections next year, according to a report by The Indian Express. A panel of ministers, including Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, has recommended that the dispatches of sugar by mills for exports be stopped with “immediate effect”. The government will soon issue a notification for banning shipments.
Currently, there is enough sugar to meet the estimated domestic consumption demand of 275 lakh tonnes, a government source told The Indian Express. However, the government does not want to take any risks before the state elections this year and the Lok Sabha polls next year. The country’s sugar production in the 2022-23 crop year (October-September) is projected to be about 327 lakh tonnes (LT), compared to the previous year’s production of 359 lakh tonnes.
Although most of the sugar has already been exported as per the fixed quota set for the current year, about two lakh tonnes of sugar has not yet been dispatched for export, government data shows. The exports may now be affected by the decision of the government.
According to sugar export data until April 8, 2023, in the current year, India has exported a maximum of 6.31 lakh tonnes of sugar to Bangladesh. Other major importers include Djibouti, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Jordan.
The all-India average retail price of sugar was Rs 42.24 per kg on Friday, slightly higher than the level a year ago when it was Rs 41.31, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs data. The ban on sugar exports is expected to prevent any potential rise in sugar prices and help stabilize the market.