Sweetener For Sugar Industry Before Lok Sabha Polls?

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New Delhi: The sugar mills in the country are in big trouble as they have been choked up with surplus stocks of sugar, low demand in the market, and no increment in the minimum selling price. With the bumper production of sugar, the central government is striving to increase the export of sugar to reduce the dues of farmers. India has been aiming to channelize the sugar stocks through exports.

Lok Sabha election is around the corner, and the crisis in the sugar industry can majorly affect the electoral calculations of BJP as sugarcane growers are one of the major vote banks along with sugar mills.  It was expected that the ruling party will leave no stone unturned to win the confidence of the sugar industry and in order to achieve this, they would dole out something to assist the distressed sugar industry.

In good news to the sugar industry, Malaysia has agreed to import 44,000 tonnes of sugar from India, which would help to low the burden of surplus stock of sugar in the country and ultimately will aid the sugar mills and sugarcane farmers.

It was expected that if the surplus stocks of sugar are not disposed of in time, it would lead to a further decline in prices in domestic markets and maximize cane arrears before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The government has asked domestic sugar mills to export 5 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season (October-September) to liquidate excess sugar stock in the country.

Earlier, Malaysia had shown interest in importing sugar from India, but for this, the condition of duty reduction on the import of palm oil has been laid down, which was executed later on.

Recently, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) in a press release stated that several sugar mills were either not voluntarily willing to export sugar against their allocated export quotas or did not find it viable enough to do so. In a letter written to DFDP, ISMA has asked them to provide financial assistance for those sugar mills who have fullfiled their individual export quotas and willing to export beyond MIEQ given to them.

According to ISMA, it was estimated that cane price arrears across the country had reached about Rs 20,000 crore at the end of January 2019.

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