Pune: The report of government deciding to double the import duty on sugar to 100 per cent has invoked mixed reactions from people. The bumper crop season of sugarcane has led to surplus production and wholesale prices have fallen below the cost of production making it difficult for the millers to pay a good price to sugarcane farmers.
While government sources claim the move is aimed at protecting domestic sugarcane farmers, Shrikant Acharya, member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the move will lead to high prices of sugar and the common man will have to bear the brunt of it. “In 2014, the government decided to give subsidy on the export of sugar,” said Acharya.
“If we see, since 2014 the fair and remunerative price (FRP) on sugarcane has not been changed substantially but the sugar prices have changed from Rs 26 per kg to Rs 36 kg so why are the millers finding it difficult to pay the farmers. Now, the common man will have to pay more for sugar and the money will be used for the elections,” claimed Acharya.
He said sugar is a non-perishable commodity and so export and import of the commodity should not have much impact on its price. “The demand for sugar increases in summer season and so the common man will have to pay more for sugar,” added Acharya.
Another expert, Yogesh Pande welcomed the move of the government, but claimed it will hardly help the sugar industry. “We need to understand that we have a problem of surplus sugarcane, which should be solved. Last year as well in the coming year we will have a surplus of sugarcane and so our strategies should be focused on exporting the sugar and the government should also regulate the flow of sugar in the market. Five years ago, the government decided to decontrol the sugar industry, but we have seen that the government has to intervene every year. So the focus should be on regulating the sugar flow in the market and to create a buffer stock. All sugar millers are trying to clear their buffer stock causing prices to crash,” added Pande.
Sugar Commissioner Sambhaji Kadu Patil on Tuesday told Sakal Times that the sugar millers want the government to set a good price of sugar so that they do not face problem paying the sugar farmers. “The sugar millers have welcomed the move of the government setting up a price of Rs 3,200 per quintal. We need to balance the demands of the sugar industry, consumers and farmers as all are interdependent,” added Kadu Patil.