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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sugar shortage may be 70 lakh tonnes: Pawar

Production of sugar in 2009-10 may be only about 160 lakh tonnes against an estimated demand of 230 lakh tonnes during this period, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said in the Lok Sabha.

Answering supplementaries during the Question Hour, he said, "As per preliminary estimates of the industry, domestic production of sugar in 2009-10 may be about 160 lakh tonnes. Actual availability will depend on domestic production and imports."

"Demand in 2009-10 is estimated to be about 230 lakh tonnes," he said.

This would mean an estimated shortage of about 70 lakh tonnes of sugar in the current financial year.

Pawar also said price of sugar has shown a rising trend since the beginning of 2009, mainly on account of reduction in area and production of sugarcane in the crop year 2007-08, and higher diversion of cane to usages other than manufacture of sugar.

This led to a shortfall in domestic production of sugar in sugar season 2008-09, he said.

Assuring the House that the government was taking adequate measures to meet the crisis, Pawar enumerated steps like allowing import of sugar at zero duty, removing levy, suspending futures trade in sugar to fix Fair and Remunerative Price and providing concessional loans at 4 per cent interest to sugar factories.

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