Millennium Post

Coop body demands dual pricing to curb anti-sugar wave

In view of growing anti-sugar movement, cooperative body NFCSFL on Friday pitched for dual pricing of sugar for industrial users and retail consumers in line with electricity and kerosene saying this will be a win- win for major stakeholders -- farmers, millers and consumers.

The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSFL), an apex body that represents 262 cooperative sugar mills, has suggested sugar rate to be kept at Rs 50-60 per kg for industrial consumer and Rs 30 per kg for retailers.

The dual pricing has already been implemented successfully in electricity supply for industrial and household consumers with separate rates. Even kerosene supplied under the Public Distribution System has a dual rate for many years, it added.

This novel and "out-of-the box strategy" is need of the hour because "there is a new anti-sugar wave across the world which blames sugar to be the main cause of obesity, diabetes and heart-related ailments," NFCSF Managing Director Prakash P Naiknavare said.

Besides, many developed countries have already imposed 'sugar tax' to artificially jack up sugar prices to discourage its consumption, he said.

In India too, major beverage manufacturers like Pepsi and Coca Cola have reduced their sugar purchases and replaced sugar with organic sweeteners like Stevia.

"Thus, in the light of tough days ahead for sugar sales, it is perhaps the right time for all the major stakeholders of India's sugar sector to come together to push for dual pricing policy for domestic sugar," Naiknavare said.

About 70 per cent of the total sugar is consumed by industries while merely 30 per cent is used by retail consumers.

Naiknavare further said that the industrial bulk consumers have not reduced prices of their products when sugar rates remained lower for last 2-3 three years and thus "earned hundred per cent profit. ...This profiteering sailed through smoothly because nobody questioned this."

"The Federation will take up these issues with the government at an appropriate level," he noted.

"The out of box" strategy is required to check the anti- sugar campaign. The dual pricing will ensure cane farmers get a remunerative price, sugar mills will have a bankable robust balance sheet and the common household consumer will get the sweetener at a reduced rate, he added.

India's per capita consumption is about 28-30 kg, while the monthly sugar requirement of an average family of four members is only 10 kg.
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