Sugar mills in India have exported 24.96 lakh tonne of the commodity in the ongoing 2020-21 season with Indonesia accounting for the maximum shipments (contributing 38.5% of the total exports so far), according to All India Sugar Trade Association (AISTA). An additional 3.03 lakh tonne of sugar is in transit and delivered to port-based refineries, the trade body said. The country is well on course to complete the 60-lakh tonne mill export target this year with Indonesia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka emerging as the top three buyers, AISTA vice-chairman Rahil Shaikh said.
Mills have contracted to export 33.38 lakh tonne of sugar so far as against the 60 lakh tonne quota assigned by the food ministry, AISTA said. According to market sources, contracts for 49 lakh tonne have been signed by exporters. Of the total exports undertaken so far, 9,61,594 tonne of sugar was exported to Indonesia, 3,08,302 tonne to Afghanistan and 2,46,391 tonne to Sri Lanka till April 9 this year, AISTA said
Of the total exports, raws part is around 19 lakh tonne and the remainder is whites, Shaikh said. He felt that the total physical exports could touch 55 lakh tonne this season. The Covid factor and the commencement of the monsoon could bring down exports by around 5 lakh tonne, he pointed out, adding that with the start of the Brazil season, their sugar could be much cheaper globally.
Shaikh said that for the first time, Indonesia matched its quality specifications with India and therefore exports from India were high. Moreover, Brazil had an off-season between December 2020 to March 2021, which gave Indian exporters an opportunity to export more sugar to the country, he said.
Last year, Iran was the top export destination for Indian sugar with 11 lakh tonne. This year, however, exports to Iran did not take place due to currency issues, he said. UAE emerged as a new market this year for Indian exporters. Somalia and Bangladesh were other major markets for Indian sugar accounting for 1,90,864 tonne and 1,42,434 tonne, respectively.
Sugar exporter Abhijit Ghorpade said that the exports have picked up pace despite the delay in the announcement of the export policy and the container shortages. At least 7 lakh tonne are physically exported every month for the last three months, he said.
Meanwhile, AISTA, which completes five years this month, stated that the body will soon revise upwards domestic sugar production estimates to 350 lakh tonne for the 2020-21 marketing year from earlier projections of 299 lakh tonne. Consumption will be pegged at 255 lakh tonne.