The Centre is likely to implement a blanket ban on sugar export in response to rising prices and lower-than-expected production in the 2022-23 season, which began in October.
According to the current quota, millers are permitted to sell around 6 million tonnes of sugar in the 2022-23 crop marketing year (October to September), down from 11 million tonnes the previous season. Approximately 5.8 million tonnes have already left the country, with the remainder in transit.
To assure improved supply, the Centre increased the amount of sugar mills could sell on the open market earlier this month.
According to government projections, sugar production in the 2022-23 season would be 32.7 million tonnes, down from the previously estimated 35.9 million tonnes, a drop of about 9 per cent. The reduction in output is primarily due to lower-than-expected output in Maharashtra, one of the fastest-growing states.
On Thursday, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) reduced the country’s sugar production estimate for the current marketing year from 34 million tonnes to 32.8 million tonnes, saying it expected 4 million tonnes to be diverted to ethanol instead of the previously estimated 4.5 billion tonnes.
It predicted that sugar output in Maharashtra would be 10.5 million tonnes in the 2022-23 marketing year, down from the forecast of 12.1 million tonnes. In the meantime, ex-mill sugar prices have climbed by around Rs 150-200 per quintal in the last month.
Ex-mill sugar prices in Uttar Pradesh were quoted in early April at Rs 3,590-3,710 per quintal, compared to Rs 3,320-3,360 in Maharashtra, Rs 3,295-3,345 in Karnataka and Rs 3,340-3,510 in Gujarat. Prices per quintal were Rs 150-200 lower than at the start of March.