Sugar mills want Cen­tre to hike ex-mill price

The Hindu Business Line - - COMMODITY WISE -

Sug­ar­cane ar­rears touched ₹20,000 crore at the end of Jan­uary as pro­duc­tion of the sweet­ener gained pace in the first four months of the 2018-19 sugar sea­son, ex­ceed­ing 18.51 mil­lion tonnes, ac­cord­ing to the In­dian Sugar Mills As­so­ci­a­tion (ISMA), the apex body of millers. Sugar pro­duc­tion was up by around 8 per cent till end Jan­uary as against 17.1 mil­lion tonnes in the year-ago pe­riod.

As the cane ar­rears has be­gun to rise, ISMA has asked the Cen­tre to in­crease the ex-mill price to ₹35-36 per kg, so that the in­dus­try could re­cover its pro­duc­tion costs, pay farm­ers’ their dues and also ser­vice debts and other oblig­a­tory pay­ments. The ex-mill sugar prices across the coun­try is cur­rently at ₹29-30 per kg, ₹5-6 per kg be­low the cost of pro­duc­tion of sugar.

Sources said the cane ar­rears in Ut­tar Pradesh till end Jan­uary were es­ti­mated to be around ₹9,300 crore, while in Ma­ha­rash­tra, the dues are at ₹4,850 crore, and in Kar­nataka, at over ₹3,500 crore.

Fur­ther, ISMA said sugar ex­ports are also not hap­pen­ing at the de­sired pace as sev­eral sugar mills are ei­ther not will­ing to ex­port sugar against their al­lo­cated ex­port quo­tas or do not find it vi­able enough to do so. There­fore, in or­der to en­sure that all mills ful­fil their al­lo­cated ex­port quo­tas, ISMA has re­quested the Cen­tre to en­force the quo­tas.

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