(CMR) Weeks after banning wheat export, India, a major sugar producer, announced it would be restricting sugar exports in a bid to secure domestic food supplies.
The Indian government announced on Wednesday that it is capping sugar exports at 10 million metric tons as of June 1 for the rest of the current marketing year, which ends in September, to ensure the product is available to its people.
India is the world's largest sugar producer and the second-largest exporter after Brazil. Major importers of Indian sugar include Indonesia and Sri Lanka. India exported 7.2 million tons of sugar in the last year.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, India doesn't face a sugar shortfall; however, like in many countries, food inflation in India has risen sharply in the last year, putting pressure on the government to soften the impact on its people.
CNN reported that the move to limit exports comes at a time when annual retail inflation in India's economy hit 7.8%, its highest level in nearly eight years.
It is also another sign of rising food protectionism worldwide, as major producers curb agricultural exports, adding to the supply shock triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.
International sugar prices have already surged 20% in the last 12 months due to various factors, including supply shocks and recovering demand from the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, Malaysia moved to restrict chicken exports to its neighbors, saying, “the government's priority is our own people.”