April 17, 2021
The Hindu BusinessLine | https://bit.ly/32wf8f6
Indonesia, the largest importer of raw sugar is emerging as a major buyer of Indian sweetener this year.
Indonesia along with Afghanistan accounted for about 48 per cent of the total Indian sugar exports of 29.72 lakh tonnes shipped out during October 2020-March 2021, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).
Indonesia has, so far, imported about 11.5 lakh tonnes, while Afghanistan has imported 4.7 lakh tonnes from India.
Major sugar importers
Thailand used to be the largest exporter of sugar to Indonesia, a major importer of raw sugar along with China. With Thailand’s sugar production coming down by half, its exports to Indonesia have reduced. Therefore, India is getting a chance to enter the Indonesian market and we have grabbed the opportunity, said Abinash Verma, Director General of ISMA.
In fact, Indonesia has extended the concessional import duty to India t a year-and-half ago. Thailand and Australia are the only other countries that enjoy Indonesia’s concessional import duty.
ISMA said about 29.72 lakh tonnes have been shipped out during October-March 2021 compared with 30.64 lakh tonnes in the same period a year ago. Mills have shipped out more than 25 lakh tonnes within three months of the 2020-21 export policy being announced on December 31, 2020. This is almost 42 per cent of the 60 lakh tonnes of export quota for the current year.
It is also reported that about eight lakh tonnes of sugar is in pipeline for export in April, ISMA said.
Sugar production till April 15 stood at 24.82 million tonnes, about 4.26 million tonnes or 21 per cent higher than same period last year. About 170 sugar mills were still crushing cane as on April 15 compared with140 in the same period last year.
Sales upto March 2021 stood at 12.94 million tonnes against domestic sales quota of 12.5 million tonnes issued by the Government. Last year, during the same period sugar sales were estimated at 13.02 million tonnes as against sales quota of 12.6 million tonnes.
Last year, post March, 2020, sugar sales got affected due to the country wide lockdown and consequent closure of restaurants, malls and movie halls that in turn impacted the demand for sugar sweetened products like ice cream, beverages, juices, confectionaries, sweets.
Disruption at minimal rate
However, Verma said the disruption in supply chain is expected to the be minimal this year due to the night curfews and lockdowns being imposed by some States with certain limitations. This time the restrictions are more organised and directives including standard operating procedures are already in place, due to which supply chain disruption is expected to be minimal.