10 July 1998
Indian sugar forecasts higher than expected

Indian sugar production is expected to rise to 12.7m tonnes in 1997-98 compared with 11m-11.5m tonnes forecast at the beginning of the season.

Op Dhanuka, of the Indian Sugar Mills Association, said the rally in production was due to the cane crop in Maharashtra, which initially suffered from drought but recovered as the season progressed. The whole of south India had produced a lot more sugar than expected, he said.

Now the Indian sugar industry is calling on the government to increase import duties to further discourage imports. The crop gives a better return to farmers than wheat, rice or oilseeds. There is also a greater incentive for farmers to grow cane because the sugar factories have a reputation for paying growers on time.

Meanwhile, Russia might set import duties of 75% on raw sugar and 45% on white sugar to protect national producers from 25 July to 1 January next year, according to a trade ministry official.

  • Financial Times 10/07/98 page 26