The Nepal Government has banned the import of sugar from India and Pakistan. Nepal’s customs officials have said annually 9,400 MT of sugar is imported from Pakistan and India.
The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has directed the supplies ministry to halt sugar import to assure a market for domestic produce.
With cheaper sugar from India and Pakistan flooding the market, the country’s sugar mills have been finding it difficult to clear their stocks, as Nepali sugar, which is comparatively costlier, has failed to compete with cheaper imported sugar, resulting in low demand for domestic production in the market. As a result, sugar mill operators are not only reluctant to clear pending dues of farmers but are also saying that they will not be able to purchase sugarcane from farmers this year.
In March, the government had raised import duty on sugar to 30 percent from 15 percent to promote domestic sugar under pressure from sugar mill operators. However, the import of cheaper sugar did not fall even after that step.
Sugar mill operators have been claiming that imported sugar is available at almost Rs 65 per kg in the market, while production cost of domestic sugar is more than Rs 70 per kg. They have claimed that sugar worth over Rs 7 billion remains unsold in their warehouses after failing to compete with imported sugar.