The Union government on Saturday allowed the export of 60 lakh metric tonnes of sugar on a quota basis in 2022-23.

The department of food and public distribution said that it took the decision to prevent uncontrolled export of sugar and to ensure its availability for domestic consumption at a reasonable price.

The Union government had imposed restrictions on the export of sugar o June 1 to control price rise and increase the availability of the commodity in the domestic market.

With the decision on Saturday, sugar mill owners can either export the commodity themselves or through exporters or refineries.

“All the sugar mills have been allocated a uniform export quota of 18.23% of their 3 years average production of sugar in operational sugar seasons,” a letter by the department to the chief executive officers of all sugar mills said.

Mills that do not want to export the commodity can partially or wholly surrender their export quota within 60 days.

“The Central government has prioritised availability of about 275 Lakh Metric Tonnes sugar for domestic consumption, about 50 LMT sugar for diversion to ethanol production and to have closing balance of about 60 LMT as on 30.09.2023,” a press release from the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said.

It added: “Balance quantity of sugar produced by sugar mills in the country would be allowed for exports.”

The government said that by allowing sugar exports, it has “protected the interest of cane farmers and sugar mills” as mills will be able to take benefits of favourable international sugar price. It added that the move will ensure that farmers are paid their dues on time and working capital costs of mills reduce.

Mills had manufactured 4.05 lakh tonnes of sugar in October, according to the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd, PTI reported. The figure was 14.73% lower than the same period last year.

In 2021-’22, a record 35.92 million tonnes of sugar was produced in the country. The top three states that produce the commodity are Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.