Government of India has been successfully maintaining stable retail prices of sugar in the country. Though international sugar prices have touched the highest level in a decade in April-May 2023, domestic prices of sugar has a nominal inflation of about 3%, which is commensurating with the hike in Fair & Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane.
In fact, international sugar prices are almost 50% higher than those in India. The average retail price of sugar in the country is about ₹ 43 per kg and is likely to remain in range bound only. In fact, it can be seen from the chart below that there has been less than 2% annual inflation in the country in sugar prices in last 10 years. Domestic prices have been kept stable with little increase as a result of pragmatic government policy interventions.
Timely government interventions have brought sugar sector out of crisis. Strong fundamentals of sugar sector and more than sufficient production of sugarcane and sugar in the country has ensured that sugar remain within easy access to each & every Indian consumer.
During the current Sugar Season (Oct-Sep) 2022-23, India is estimated to have production of 330 LMT sugar after diversion of about 43 LMT for ethanol production. Thus, total sucrose production in the country would be about 373 LMT which is the second highest in last 5 years. Further, there has been considerable increase in production of sugar during the last 10 years; however, the consumption has not increased in the same proportion; thereby, ensuring availability of sufficient stock for any unforeseen event.
At the end of July 2023, India has sugar stock of about 108 LMT, which is sufficient to meet domestic demand for remaining months of current SS 2022-23 and also for optimum stock of about 62 LMT at the end of season. Thus, enough sugar is available for domestic consumers at reasonable prices throughout the year.
In addition, interest of sugarcane farmers are being addressed by ensuring Fair & Remunerative prices as well as their timely payments by sugar mills. 99.9% of cane dues of sugarcane farmers for the sugar seasons upto 2021-22 have already been cleared by sugar mills. Even for the current sugar season 2022-23, with payment of more than ₹ 1.05 lakh crores, about 93% cane dues payment have already been cleared as on date.
Thus, interests of all the three major stakeholders, consumers, farmers and sugar mills have been protected by the Government of India by revamping the sugar sector with its appropriate policies, stable prices and timely clearance of cane dues of farmers.