NEW DELHI: The Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, on Tuesday, opposed any move to ban sugar export in a bid to contain price rise, saying selling the sweetener in overseas markets is as such difficult in the current scenario of low global prices.
Earlier in the day, a government official said the Food Ministry is considering a cap on sugar exports at 1.5 million tonnes for 2011-12 marketing year (October-September) to check price rise due to deficient monsoon.
“Who is going to export now because international prices are ruling below domestic prices. There is no need to restrict export of sugar,” Mr Pawar told reporters here.
The global prices are around Rs 31 a kg against domestic price of Rs 35 a kg, he said.
On reports that government may ban export of commodities like wheat, rice, maize and cotton to contain prices, Mr Pawar said: “I do not think that kind of thinking is there. I have not received any proposal to ban export of these items.”
The government had allowed two million tonnes of sugar exports in the initial few months of the current marketing year and later in May 2012 put exports under the open general licence (OGL).
Already, the Commerce Ministry has issued export permits for 1.48 million tonnes of sugar under the OGL, of which 0.86 million tonnes has been shipped.
Although the country has surplus sugar output, prices have shown upward trend amid concern over possible fall in output following weak monsoon. There is 20 per cent deficiency in rainfall during June-July period.
Sugar prices have risen by Rs 6-8 a kg in last one month and is ruling at about Rs 40/kg in most parts of India.
The country is estimated to produce 26 million tonnes of sugar in the 2011-12 marketing year, against the annual demand of 22 million tonnes.