Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said the government will consider allowing sugar export after Diwali as production is expected to outstrip demand after two years of shortages.
"I will not be surprised if sugar production touches 25 million tonnes in 2010-11 sugar year (October-September)," Pawar told reporters here.
The annual demand is pegged at 23 million tonnes.
Asked if sugar exports will be allowed, he said: "We will not take any decision on exports now. We will get proper information (about production) after Diwali and after the festival season we will think whether to allow exports are not and if allowed, how much to allow."
The Food Ministry has virtually banned exports since Febraury 2009 as the country's sugar production had fallen to 14.7 million tonnes in 2008-09 and 19 million tonnes in the current season ending this month.
The government has, however, allowed mills to meet their export obligation of nearly 1 million tonnes in two phases starting from this month. Mills have been asked to ship about 0.25 million tonnes of sugar by November and the rest by the March 2011 deadline.
Mills had imported 2.07 million tonnes of sugar in the 2004-05 crop year (October-September) under the Advance Licence Scheme (ALS), which makes it mandatory for mills to export an equal quantity later. Mills are still left with an export obligation of nearly one million tonnes.