STC importing 5,000 tonnes of sugar targeting festive market

Kathmandu, September 10

Amid sugar mills claiming that a huge volume of domestic sugar remain unsold in the market, Salt Trading Corporation (STC) is importing 5,000 tonnes of sugar from India targeting the upcoming festive market.

While 2,500 tonnes of sugar have already arrived at STC's warehouses, another 2,500 tonnes will arrive in a few days, as per Kumar Rajbhandari, spokesperson for STC. Though STC's move while domestic sugar is not finding market is suspicious, STC officials clarified sugar stock is necessary to control price in festive season.

However, it is not that STC did not attempt to buy sugar from domestic sugar mills that have been claiming they have almost Rs seven billion worth of sugar in stock, before deciding to import the product from India.

“We published sugar procurement notice thrice a few months ago. While no sugar mill expressed interest to sell their sugar to STC even after the second notice was published, four sugar mills responded to third tender, but all of them quoted the same rate,” said Rajbhandari, adding STC had to import sugar after domestic sugar mills were reluctant to supply the product to STC.

Rajbhandari further defended import of 5,000 tonnes of sugar citing STC should keep stock of the product through any means to control arbitrary rise in sugar price in the market.

Meanwhile, sugar mill operators have said STC importing sugar amid surplus domestic production and direction from Prime Minister KP Sharma to halt sugar import is unjustifiable. “We did participate in the tender of STC. However, we wanted to sell it at Rs 65 per kg, but STC was unwilling to purchase sugar at that cost,” said Rajesh Kedia, general secretary of Nepal Sugar Mills Association.