Sugar millers may now export sugar up to their allocated quota till December as the government has extended the deadline by three months, PTI reported citing a senior food ministry official. Amid a surplus sugar production, the government has allowed the export of 6 million tonnes of sugar under the quota for the 2019-20 marketing year ending September. Several mills faced logistic issues during the pandemic, therefore, it has been decided to give some more time till December for the millers to export their quota, Subodh Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary in the food ministry, told the agency. The government is also providing Rs 6,268 crore subsidy for the export of 6 million tonnes of sugar during the current marketing year to liquidate surplus domestic stock and help mills in clearing huge sugarcane arrears to farmers, the report added.
With a large-scale movement of migrant workers, the sugar harvest is expected to have been delayed as the industry is not automated and depends largely on manual harvesting. The harvest delays may also result in Indian mills producing sugar more slowly at a time when Brazilian sugar production will be winding down and large producer Thailand is harvesting its smallest crop in a decade, reducing the availability of sugar in the global market. However, the slow pace of crushing in India could support global prices that are trading near five-month high levels. It is to be noted that the sugar mills are still struggling to pay cane arrears of nearly Rs 16,000 crore, out of which the maximum dues are in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. The industry had earlier asked the government for help in settling their dues. Meanwhile, in an effort to help sugar factories in overcoming their losses, a top sugar federation in Maharashtra is encouraging factories to cut down on the sugar production on the back of the surplus stock and instead focus on ethanol production.