Sugar tastes bitter this festive season

Countrywide production dips by 40 lakh tonnes; price may reach Rs 40 per kg by month end


The retail price of sugar as on Monday was Rs 36 per kg and is expected to reach Rs 40 per kg by September end. It was being sold at Rs 20 to Rs 22 per kg in July.
The steep hike in price of sugar has compelled the sweet makers to increase the price of their products. While several hoteliers have already increased the price of sweets, a few are contemplating the hike soon. Vasudeva Adiga, proprietor of Adiga chain of hotels and president of Bangalore Hoteliers’ Association, said he has already increased price of sweets by 10 pc at his eateries.

“Sugar and khova are the two important ingredients for sweets. Prices of both have went up in the last two months. The price of khova, which was available at Rs 80 or 90 per kg has now gone up to Rs 120 per kg. We are left with no option but to increase the price. New rates have been in effect for the last fifteen days,” he said.
Sweet makers make brisk business during Dasara. Many companies place bulk orders for sweets on the occasion.  Halli Mane in Malleswaram alone sells about 15 quintals of sweets during Dasara. But this time the hotel is expecting a slump in the business. “Within a few days we are going to hike the price of the products at least by 10 pc. It is inevitable to sustain the business in the view of hike in price of sugar. We are sure that the hike will affect the sales,” said Sanjeev Rao, proprietor of Halli Mane.

Dip in production
Price of sugar shot up following a dip in sugar production in the country. Average annual demand for sugar in the country is around 210 lakh tonnes. The average quantity of sugar produced is nearly 180 lakh tonnes. And, this year, the production has come down to 140 lakh tonnes.

Nataraj, a retail shop owner in Ulsoor, said he purchased a bag (100 kgs) of sugar paying Rs 3,000, last week. The price per bag stood at Rs 3,350 in the wholesale market in Yeshwanthpur, as on Monday. He is selling at Rs 36 per kg.
The State government has issued cappings on sugar stocks. Food and Civil Supplies commissioner H R Srinivas said wholesale dealers can stock up to 2,000 quintals, while retailers, only up to 50 quintals. But traders feel that this capping will not serve the purpose of reducing the price of sugar.

A Padmanbahan, proprietor of ARC, a sugar trading and consulting agency, said a handful of dealers in Karnataka have the capacity to stock up to 2,000 quintals. Most of the dealers keep 500 to 1,000 quintals.
“Chances of sugar price coming down in the near future are grim. Cultivation of sugarcane starts only in November this year. The price may fall next year if the production increases,” he said.

The State government could not distribute sugar to thousands of ration card holders under the PDS in some districts due to shortage in supply. Food and Civil Supplies commissioner H R Srinivas said about 2,500 tonnes of sugar could not be made available on time and that affected the distribution system.
“It is because the country is facing shortage of over 100 million tonnes of sugar this year,” he said.

The State government has decided to distribute 250 gm more sugar for card holders this month to enable beneficiaries celebrate Dasara with more sweets. All these months BPL families got only 750 gms of sugar, but this month they will get one kg.

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