The Indian sugar manufacturers have sought to increase the import duty on sugar from the current 15% to at least 40% on both white and raw sugar.
Sugar industry forum, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said that the government should try and protect the industry and suggested measures to revive the declining benefits to all stakeholders.
In a statement, the forum said that Indian carry forward of sugar stocks could reach 103 lakh tons by the end of September 2014 blocking cash flows of `30,000 crore during the 2013-14 sugar season.
They said that with an opening balance of 88 lakh tons on October 1, 2013 and another 15 lakh tons surplus in the 2013-14 season, the numbers could affect the sugar industry to pay the farmers for their produce. They said that the during the last season cane price arrears crossed `12,000 crore on March 31, 2013.
Import for other products like coffee & tea is 100 per cent, 80 per cent for rice in husk, 70 per cent for coconut, 50 per cent for maize and apple while the import duty on sugar remains low, they said. White sugar is being imported through Wagah Border.
They said that continuously increasing sugarcane price across the country is leading to high costs of production of sugar when compared to Brazil, the largest sugar exporter in the world.
ISMA has asked authorities to re-introduce the interest subvention scheme under which the banks would extend loans to sugar mills against excise duty paid and payable for the last two seasons, to be repaid in 4 years as well as create strategic reserve of 20-30 lakh tons, to be held regionally by FCI. Sugar production of India is estimated at 250 lakh tonnes in the 2013-14 season.