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Bumper sugar production- prices may fall drastically

Considering bumper sugarcane production in the country, the sugar prices may dip to a paltry sum of Rs 12 per kg, instead of prevailing rate of Rs 17-18 for at least coming two years.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2007 15:36 IST

Considering bumper sugarcane production in the country and particularly in Maharashtra this year, the sugar prices may dip to a paltry sum of Rs 12 per kg, instead of prevailing rate of Rs 17-18 for at least coming two years, predicted Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani, the former legislator and president of co-ordination committee of consumer protection of state Congress Committee.

Talking to mediapersons here on Thursday, Gidwani informed that the country has witnessed a historical bumper crop of sugarcane this year, resulting in all time high production of around 260-lakh metric tones. Similarly, on the back of a bumper sugarcane production across the world, India would not get better price in the international market.

In view of the situation, the state and union government are giving a subsidy of Rs 235 per quintal for export. However, there are no takers for export. “Realising the fact, the government must ensure maximum movement of sugar into the domestic market. Since there is no demand abroad for our sugar, the government subsidy should be diverted for free sale sugar. This will help to bail out the sugarcane growers and sugar factories. Otherwise, a huge quantity of sugar would be damaged during the rainy season due to lack of storage space in the country,” Gidiwani apprehended.

According to him, out of the total production of 260 lakh MT, the Maharashtra has produced 85 lakh MT alone this year. The sugarcane producers and cooperative sugar factories of the state would suffer a lot if the government fails to provide subsidy to them immediately.

He, while briefing the present status of the sugar crop, informed that the record sugar production of 260-lakh metric tones in the country has left no space to keep sugar in the godowns. The former legislator said that sugar producers in the Maharashtra used to export 70 per cent of their product to Gujarat, Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

However, the decision of Uttar Pradesh government to give transport expenses upto 600 Kms to export their produce outside UP, has reduced sugar prices in Uttar Pradesh. As a result the demand of sugar from western Maharashtra has declined to a great extent. He demanded that the state should introduce a similar policy to bail out the sugar cooperatives and sugarcane growers.

Answering a question, Gidwani said that this fact has been brought to the notice of union Agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar. But there was delay in decision by the union government. “He (Pawar) too helpless,” he further pointed out.