Sugar imports from Pakistan at the Vashi Agriculture Produce Market Committee, Mumbai, have irked domestic sugar industry and political leaders.
Sugar imports from Pakistan at the Vashi Agriculture Produce Market Committee, Mumbai, have irked domestic sugar industry and political leaders. Reports are rife in the market that more than 30,000 quintals of sugar from Pakistan have been imported into the country but neither the market committee officials nor the Bombay Sugar Merchants Association officials are willing to confirm it.
The sugar imports have arrived in the market at a time when the sector is in the midst of a major crisis. The sugar production in India has crossed the expected level causing severe decline in prices due to demand-supply gap. In the current season, the country’s sugar production marked a record high of 299.8 lakh tonne till April 15, creating a lot of pressure on prices as well as farmers as they are unable to pay their arrears due to declining prices.
The Indian sugar mill association (ISMA) has demanded government support to provide production-linked incentive to sugarcane farmers. The bumper sugarcane crop has led to a serious drop in the prices of sugar in domestic and international markets. On Monday, ex-mill prices of S-30 were reported in the range of `2,450 to `2,510 per quintal and `2,550 to `2,650 per quintal for M-30 grade.
The industry has been struggling to export the mandated quotas fixed by the government. Sugar mills in Maharashtra have been given a target of exporting 6.2 lakh tonne before September while the country as a whole has been given a target of 20 lakh tonne. The decision for exports was taken with an eye on the glut in sugar. With a bumper crop expected for the next season, sugar prices have crashed with millers reporting selling sugar at `26-27 per kg. Millers have been complaining about the lack of parity in the present international prices and now the reports of import from Pakistan have added fuel to the fire.
Demonstrations were held by Raj Thackery’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) at the Vashi market on Sunday and even outside the office of the Bombay Sugar Merchants Association. Leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have also protested. APMC deputy secretary (market 1) DG Mokade confirmed the MNS demonstrations.