The Centre has placed a cap on the export of sugar under the "restricted" category which will be effective from June 1.

The latest move comes days after banning the export of wheat in order to control rising inflation and to ensure availability in the domestic market.

India's retail inflation has been above RBI's tolerance band for the fourth straight month in April, and is likely to continue in the coming months too.

India sugar imports sugarcane
Reuters file

"Taking into consideration unprecedented growth in exports of sugar and the need to maintain sufficient stock of sugar in the country as well as to safeguard interests of the common citizens of the country by keeping prices of sugar under check, Government of India has decided to regulate sugar exports," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification on Tuesday.

The upper limit for sugar exports has been kept at 10 million tonnes for the marketing season ending October 31, the government said late on Tuesday night.

India - second-largest exporter of sugar

The government on Wednesday claimed that India has become the largest producer of sugar in the world in the year 2022-23, more than Brazil, while it would be the second largest exporter of sugar.

Sugar production in 2018-19 was 332 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) after discounting diversion of 3 LMT for ethanol; in 2019-20, it was 274 LMT (after discounting diversion of 9 LMT for ethanol); in 2020-21, the production increased to 310 LMT (after discounting diversion of 22 LMT for ethanol) and for 2021-22, it is 335 LMT (after discounting diversion of 35 LMT for ethanol).

The production of sugar has increased and so has sugar exports. In sugar seasons 2017-18, 2018-19 & 2019-20, only about 6.2 LMT, 38 LMT & 59.60 LMT of sugar was exported. "In sugar season 2020-21 against target of 60 LMT, about 70 LMT have been exported. In the current sugar season 2021-22, against the projected 100 LMT exports, contracts for export of about 90 LMT have been signed, about 82 LMT sugar has been dispatched from sugar mills for export and approximately 78 LMT have been exported. Export of sugar in current sugar season 2021-22 is the historically highest," Subodh Singh, Joint Secretary, Food, told media persons.

About 80 per cent of sugar is produced in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka and because the two states south of Narmada are nearer to the ports, export takes place more from these states.

Earlier, late last night, the government has restricted sugar export up to 100 LMT from June 1 till October 31, 2022 with a view to maintain the domestic availability and price stability during the sugar season 2021-22 (October-September).

Curbs on edible oil

Besides, on Tuesday the Centre allowed the import of a quantity of 20 lakh tonnes each of crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil per year for a period of two years at zero customs duty and Agricultural Infrastructure and Development Cess.

Customs reduces clearance time for edible oil consignments at ports

It is important to note here that India fulfils a major portion of its edible oil requirements through imports.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has led to a short supply of sunflower oil as both the countries involved in the war are major producers of sunflower oil.

Further, during the weekend the government reduced excise duties on petrol and diesel, reduced import duties on some raw materials needed for steel production and announced subsidies for Ujjwala gas beneficiaries.

(With inputs from IANS)