PUNE: Sugar exports have failed to fetch a good price for sugar factories from the state, the result, say experts, of delayed permission from the government to begin exports.

Although the announcement to restart sugar exports was made in December 2010, the actual order was issued only in April, by which time the international market had started receiving sugar from Thailand.

The Union government had delayed the decision to permit sugar export fearing a rise in domestic prices. Speaking to TOI on condition of anonymity, a managing director of a sugar factory said, "The international prices in January were Rs 3,500 per quintal, which slid to Rs 3,200 per quintal by March.

The government made an announcement about the export of sugar in December but no written permission was issued. After several requests, it finally issued an order in the last week of April, when the international price was below Rs 3,000 a quintal. We fail to understand why the government delayed issuing the export order, when the country was expecting healthy production of sugar during the ongoing crushing season."

He said that if sugar from Brazil also arrived on the international market, it would bring the prices down further and could result in losses for the sugar sector.

Kamal Jain, a senior sugar exporter from Pune said, "The price of sugar on the domestic market is Rs 2,500 a quintal and stock of two lakh tonne will arrive in the market soon. Prices will fall further. The higher international prices from December to March should have been tapped by allowing exports, which would have fetched more money for domestic sugar industry. Sugar from Thailand has already captured the market and Indian sugar is receiving orders at a lower price." Jain also put some blame on the sugar industry, claiming that the factories also reacted late to the sugar export order issued by the government. Each day's delay results in a lowering of sugar prices."

A V Gade, joint director (by-product), sugar commissionerate said, "Some 15 sugar factories opted for a licence to export sugar and published tenders accordingly. The notification was issued on April 19 and factories will have to apply for export licence within a month. Though the state's sanctioned export quota is 1.80 lakh tonne of the five lakh tonnes is to be exported from the country, the actual export will be 1.61 lakh. The remaining sugar is reserved for export to neighbouring countries." He also admitted that sugar exports should have been initiated when there was higher demand, which could have benefited the state sugar industry.

source: articles.timesofindia.indiatimes

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