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SUGAR

People with vested interests providing incorrect info, says ISMA chief
Saturday, 28 January, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
T Sarita Reddy, president, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), stated that some people with vested interests were trying to confuse the market by throwing various numbers for sugar production and consumption for the country in 2016-17 sugar season.

“Their ulterior motive is to create panic, either to artificially push up global prices because they are holding a position in the futures market or to somehow force sugar imports into India,” she added.

Based on satellite images of cane acreage, yields, recoveries and drawal of sugarcane, ISMA, in its recent committee meeting, which was attended by members from the sugar-producing states, jointly and unanimously arrived at a sugar production estimate of 213 lakh tons for the 2016-17 season.

Similarly, based on actual sugar sales between October and December 2016, and the trend in January 2017, and reports of lower off-take by beverage manufacturers, sweet makers, etc., the sugar consumption estimates for the year was revised downwards to 242 lakh tons.

“Considering these estimates, along with the opening sugar stocks of 77.5 lakh tons, there is no shortage of sugar, and therefore, there is no need to import any,” Reddy stated.

“A few speculators and sugar refiners continue to spread rumours, to suit their personal vested interests, and create opportunities for themselves to import sugar,” she reiterated.

“Their statements on shortage of sugar, mostly made without any analysis and research, is causing speculation and volatility in the sugar market and spiking sugar prices unnecessarily,” Reddy added.

“Unlike the sugar millers, who have a direct responsibility towards our small and marginal farmers, and have a close relationship with them for decades, the speculators and refiners have no responsibility towards our farmers, domestic sugar manufacturers or even the domestic consumers, and therefore have a short-term gain in mind,” she added.  

“However, with surplus sugarcane and sugar expected again next year, and the need to pay remunerative prices to farmers, there is no need to import sugar unnecessarily. This decision should be taken with proper care and certainty,” Reddy said.

She added that ISMA was totally against any speculation and did not want to unnecessarily burden the nation with extra sugar, especially when there is enough within the country.

“However, drought in major sugar-producing areas makes estimations difficult. Therefore, as a responsible association of Indian millers, ISMA will be the first to approach the government, if and when there is any need felt on supplementing domestic availability through imports, with the exact quantity needed and the right approach to do so,” Reddy said.

“However, as per the current expectations and estimations made by millers across the country, there is no such need as of now. The lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers across the country depends on the decision taken so we are in constant dialogue with the government on the issue,” she added.
 
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