Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, K.V. Thomas on Monday said the government’s decision to allow export of five lakh tonnes of sugar last week has led to an increase of Rs. 4 per kg in the sweetener's retail price.

“That’s why we did not (initially) agree for exports”, he said at a conference on Negotiable Warehouse Receipts System in Bangalore.

“This we had apprehended earlier (that the move will lead to increase in the retail price of sugar),” he added.

The Minister said the government took the decision to allow export of five lakh tonnes of sugar following representation by sugar-producing states and cooperative societies.

“I am not resisting exports”, Mr. Thomas stressed, adding that, “My concern is with the consumers.”

When asked about his Department’s take on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, the Minister said, “We are going through that (the proposal). I cannot make offhand remark.”

At the conference, organised by Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), he urged the banks to trust farmers more than big business houses who run up huge outstanding debt with them.

However, he added, “I am not against business houses.” The debt that farmers have with banks is “very poor” compared to money owed by these business houses to banks.