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To prevent a surge in domestic prices, India is expected to restrict sugar exports for the first time in six years, potentially capping this season's exports at 10 million tonnes, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday.

India, the world's biggest sugar producer and the second biggest exporter behind Brazil, has exported 75 lakh tonnes of sugar till 18 May in the current marketing year ending September.

Sugar marketing year runs from October to September.

"Export of sugar in current sugar season 2021-22 is 15 times of export as compared to export in sugar season 2017-18," the Food Ministry said in a statement earlier.

The major importing countries are Indonesia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE, Malaysia and African countries.

In 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 marketing years, about 6.2 lakh tonnes, 38 lakh tonnes and 59.60 lakh tonnes of sugar were exported, respectively.

In 2020-21, about 70 lakh tonnes of sugar have been exported.

"About 14,456 crore (have been) released to sugar mills in past 5 years to facilitate export of sugar and 2,000 crore as carrying cost for maintaining buffer stock," the statement said.

In sugar seasons 2018-19 , 2019-20 and 2020-21, about 3.37 lakh tonnes, 9.26 lakh tonnes and 22 lakh tonnes of sugar were diverted to ethanol, respectively.

In 2021-22, about 35 lakh tonnes of excess sugar would be diverted to ethanol.

"By 2025, it is targeted to divert more than 60 lakh tonnes of excess sugar to ethanol," the statement said.

This would solve the problem of high inventories of sugar and improve liquidity of mills.

Since 2014, more than 64,000 crore revenue has been generated by sugar mills and distilleries from sale of ethanol to OMCs which has helped in making timely payment of dues of farmers.

In 2020-21, sugarcane worth 93,000 crore was purchased by mills.

In the 2021-22, sugarcane worth 1.10 lakh crore is likely to be purchased by sugar mills.

For the current sugar season 2021-22, out of total cane dues payable of 1,06,849 crore, about 89,553 crore have been paid and only 17,296 crore are pending as on May 17, thus 84 per cent of cane dues have been paid.

The domestic ex-mill prices of sugar are also now stable and are in the range of 32-35 per kilogram.

The average retail price of sugar in the country is about 41.50 per kg and is likely to remain in the range of 40-43 per kg in the coming months.

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