The government on Monday gave sugar mills three months more till December to export the last year's balance quota of the sweetener.
Mills were able to export about 3.8 million tonne of sugar during the 2018-19 marketing year (October-September) due to depressed market conditions, against the target of 5 million tonne under the Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) scheme.
"Now, it has been decided by the central government to allow those sugar mills, which had partially exported their MIEQ of 2018-19 till September 2019, to export the balance quantity of their MIEQ by December 31, 2019," said a fresh notification issued by the food ministry.
This will be over and above the quota allocated for the ongoing 2019-20 marketing year.
A senior food ministry official said that much of the sugar during the last year was exported to the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
For the current year, the government has fixed an export quota of 6 million tonne under the MIEQ. Mills are hopeful that the quota will be fulfilled as the global market is facing 4 million tonnes of deficit.
India has started the 2019-20 marketing year with an all-time high opening stock of 14.5 million tonne against a requirement of 3-5 million tonne.
The government has pegged sugar output to decline to 28-29 million tonne for the current year from 33.1 million tonnes during 2018-19 due to sharp fall in cane acreage in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Whereas industry body ISMA has projected the country's output to touch a three-year low at 26 million tonne during 2019-20.
There are 534 mills in the country. Mills in Uttar Pradesh have started the crushing operation, while it is delayed in Maharasthra and Karnataka.