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'Sugar exports touch 4.25 mn tonnes so far this year'

New Delhi: Sugar mills in India have exported 4.25 million tonnes of the sweetener so far in the ongoing 2020-21 marketing year ending September, with maximum shipments to Indonesia, trade body AISTA said on Friday.

Mills have contracted to export 5.85 million tonnes of sugar so far, as against the 6 million tonnes quota assigned by the food ministry in January this year, All India Sugar Trade Association (AISTA) said in a statement.

About 1,50,000 tonnes of sugar is left to be exported under the quota and some sugar mills are finding it difficult to locate small quantities left with mills, it said and requested the government to publish the unshipped export quota left with mills as on May 31.

The sugar marketing year runs from October to September. According to AISTA, mills have exported a total of 4.25 million tonnes of sugar from January 1 till June 7, 2021.

Of the total exports undertaken so far, maximum exports have been undertaken to Indonesia at 1.40 million tonnes so far this year, followed by Afghanistan at 5,20,905 tonnes and the UAE at 4,36,917 tonnes and Sri Lanka at 3,24,113 tonnes.

About 3,59,665 tonnes of sugar is under loading. An additional 4,98,462 tonnes of sugar is in transit and delivered to port-based refineries, it said.

"The US has withdrawn oil restrictions on Iran and there are chances of sugar exports to Iran. India's highest sugar exports were to Iran last year," AISTA Chairman Praful Vithalani said.

Maharashtra has failed to sell in the domestic market the allotted quota in a month. There can be more than 2 million tonnes of additional unsold stock at the end of the sugar year ending September 2021, he added. The association noted that monsoon has set in and sugar is a highly hygroscopic commodity as it catches moisture very fast. It is necessary that sugar stored in port areas or sugar reaching at the port for export get evacuated immediately.

While Hazira port trust has decided to accord priority to sugar vessels for berthing, similar instructions need to be issued to other ports also, it said.

AISTA has already written to the ports from where major sugar exports are taking place to give priority to vessels for sugar exports on lines of Hazira ports, it said and added the Union Food Ministry may also take up the matter with Shipping and Commerce ministries in this regard.

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