STC imports 25k tonnes of sugar for festivalsState-owned Salt Trading Corporation (STC) has imported 25,000 tonnes of sugar from India in a bid to regulate market prices and ensure smooth supply during the upcoming festive season.
State-owned Salt Trading Corporation (STC) has imported 25,000 tonnes of sugar from India in a bid to regulate market prices and ensure smooth supply during the upcoming festive season.
The shipment amounts to half of the 50,000 tonnes of sugar that STC plans to import by November. Amoj Lamichhane, chief of the company’s Birgunj office, said the imported sugar had already been dispatched to regions with high demand.
“The corporation imported the sugar considering upcoming festivals like Dashain, Tihar and Chhath as demand for sugar shoots up during this season,” said Lamichhane. “The amount we have imported will ensure that there will be no shortage of the essential sweetener during the festive season.”
The corporation is also mulling to operate fair price stores at various locations throughout the country during the festive season in a bid to keep sugar prices under control.
According to STC Chief Executive Officer Urmila Shrestha, they will expedite the process to bring the rest of the planned import of sugar. “The remaining amount will be imported in 10 consignments of 2,500 tonnes each,” said Shrestha. STC started importing sugar in a bid to end the private sector’s monopoly and make it available at reasonable prices and maintain adequate stocks to forestall possible shortages as output has dropped in both India and Nepal this year.
STC is importing sugar worth Rs5 billion from Renuka Sugar Mills, Haldiya, India through a bidding process.
There are 11 sugar mills in operation in the country. They produce 165,000 tonnes of sugar worth Rs14.26 billion annually, according to the Ministry of Industry. The country’s annual requirement of sugar amounts to 215,000 tonnes, and the deficit is covered by imports mainly from India and Brazil.
In the past few months, sugar prices had surged to Rs85-90 per kg from Rs65-70 per kg. The price rise has been attributed to STC’s failure to maintain adequate stocks. The private sector has been blamed for jacking up prices on the pretext of lowered supplies.
STC used to import 25,000-30,000 tonnes of sugar every year. However, the state-owned trading enterprise doubled imports this year to maintain adequate stocks.
Sugar prices will drop by Rs2-3 per kg after the shipment arrives, according to STC. It has been selling sugar at Rs85.50 per kg retail and Rs84 per kg wholesale. According to STC, the Kathmandu Valley is the largest consumer of sugar.