Pakistan's hopes of exporting sugar to India are unlikely to materialise because of India's unwillingness to import sugar despite an expected drop in production in the country, this
"We have already informed Mr Masud Ali Khan, chairman, Pakistan Trading Corporation (PTC) that domestic sugar industry has a carry over stock of 10 million tonnes. So, atleast in the near future, India would not require any imported sugar in the near future,". director-general of Indian Sugar Mills Association , S L Jain said.
PTC was looking for an opportunity to export its surplus sugar and India has been identified as one of the potential market due to a dip in its sugar output.
Justifying the fact that there will be surplus despite the fall in sugar output in 2003-04 to 150 lakh tonne from 200 lakh tonne in 2002-03, Jain said, "the current sugar year began with a carry-over surplus of 110 lakh tonne on October 1, 2003. The domestic consumption is estimated at 180 lakh tonne. The carryover surplus of the previous year and the estimated production of 150 lakh tonne are sufficient to meet the domestic consumption. It will leave a surplus of 80 lakh tonne in the beginning of the coming sugar year 2004-05." He added that annual consumption is 18 million tonnes, even if production is 15 million tonnes we will be comfortable.
India's sugar output is likely to dip about 23 per cent to 15.5 million tonnes in the current year to September due to poor rains, lower crop area and pest attacks in a key growing region, industry officials say. Industry officials had expressed fears that India, the world's second largest producer,could be forced to import sugar in 2004-05 (October-September) due to a shortfall in production and arise in consumption.
The US. Agriculture Department in a report last week said India was set to import sugar in 2004-05 after being a net exporter since 2000-01. The USDA said with domestic prices well above international prices, 2004 - 05 sugar imports were forecast at 1.0 million tonnes, mostly raw sugar to be further processed into refined sugar. As a result India is expected to import one lakh tonne raw sugar against an export of mere 20,000 tonne white sugar, making it a net importing nation.
The sugar industry has criticised the propaganda of the US Department of
Agriculture and the "import lobby" in the country for depicting "sugar crisis" in India.
Jain said, "The USDA propaganda is baseless and malicious. It is intended to help the import lobby." He further said, "the sugarcane showing is yet to begin from June 2004. How can the USDA estimate how the cane production would be like during 2004-05 when the farmers have not yet planned their production for the upcoming season?"
Refuting the observation, he said, "the production during 2004-05 season cannot be estimated now as the sowing of is yet to begin. But even if we take this estimate of 159 lakh tonne of sugar production, season will end up with a carry-over stock of 80 lakh tonne."
"India is a net exporter and will continue to remain as such in the times to come. There is no question of importing sugar. In the current 2003-04 sugar year, exports of white sugar alone, till date, is 300,000 tonne. The exports will rise to over 500,000 tone by the end of the sugar year in September 30, 2004."