New Delhi: The Centre should not allow additional raw sugar imports as that will adversely impact wholesale prices and mills' ability to make sugarcane payments to growers, cooperative sugar mills body NFCSF said today.
Besides, it said, the government must not extend the deadline for shipments of raw sugar beyond June. Earlier this month, the government had allowed import of 5,00,000 tonnes of raw sugar at zero duty to boost domestic supply with production expected to decline sharply to 20 million tonnes in the current 2016-17 marketing year from 25 million tonnes in the previous year.
The government has extended the deadline for import of raw sugar till June-end from the current June 12 timeline. "The Board has strong reservation for any additional quantity or extension of June deadline for sugar imports in the country.
This is because it would definitely bring down the ex-mill sugar price and thus could adversely impact on mills' ability to pay cane price," National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSF) Managing Director Prakash P Naiknavare said in a statement.
More imports are not required as the country would have an opening stock of 3.4 million tonnes at the beginning of the 2017-18 season from October 2017, he said. Though the opening stock is less but it may not create a "panic situation" in the country as mills, unlike in decontrolled regime, can offload sugar as soon as it is produced, he added.
Stating that sugar availability will be comfortable next year, Naiknavare said this is because mills in Karnataka, Maharastha and Gujarat will start early crushing on September 30 and while others from mid-October.
"This would facilitate comfortable availability of sugar in the market during crucial months of October-November which in turn would help keep sugar prices at a stable level."
That apart, the NFCSF sees sugar output to be better at 25 million tonnes in the 2017-18 season (October-September). NFCSF noted that cane arrears to be paid by cooperative sugar mills are negligible as compared to private mills.