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June, 15

Is sugar the next kitchen crisis? All you need to know

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The Indian Sugar Mill Association (ISMA) has refuted reports that the government is about to ban the export of sugar. ISMA called it premature assumptions.
This comes after news agency Reuters reported, quoting unnamed government officials, that the export of the sweetener could be banned from October.
India has been facing tremendous inflationary pressure, with the prices of food items including rice, tomatoes and onions rising in recent weeks. In July, India banned the export of non-basmati white rice, emphasising that it needed to prioritise domestic consumers.
Last week, the government imposed a 40% export duty on onions to check the export of the red bulb and control its prices in domestic markets.
A global concern
Like rice and onions, sugar production in India meets a substantial portion of global requirements.
Such a move would increase benchmark prices in New York and London that are already trading around multi-year highs, triggering fears of further inflation on global food markets.
What’s the current status?
India has allowed mills to export only 6.1 million tonnes of sugar during the current season — till September 30. The mills sold a record 11.1 million tonnes last season.
Why this crisis?
Erratic monsoon and low rainfall in cropping regions are likely to bring down sugar production in the country, particularly Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Worry?
The expected sugar production for the year was 330 lakh tonnes but there could be a dip. The carry over stock in the country is 65 lakh tonnes.
The demand nationwide is 275 lakh tonnes and 50 lakh tonnes will be diverted for ethanol production.
India as exporter
Also, India doesn’t export sugar regularly. In the last two years, a global shortage of sugar saw India exporting 60 lakh tonnes. If India bans mills from exporting sugar in the next season beginning October, it would be halting shipments for the first time in seven years.
In 2016, India imposed a 20% tax on sugar exports to curb overseas sales.





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