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Govt to lift ban on sugar exports: Pawar

The Cabinet permits the mills having advance licenses to export the sweetener to go ahead with the process, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2006 22:30 IST

This announcement would surely sound sweet to sugar exporters. The government will shortly notify the partial lifting of the ban on sugar exports, Union Minister for Agriculture, Sharad Pawar, said on Tuesday.

Pawar, speaking to reporters at the end of the 63rd annual general meeting of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), said "The lifting of ban against the advance licenses will be notified in a day or two."

The Cabinet on Monday, permitted mills having advance licenses to export the sweetener to go ahead with the process. The government imposed a ban on sugar exports in July this year to check inflationary pressure in commodity market.

The Minister, however, said that the decision to allow free sugar exports would be taken in the next 10-15 days after reviewing the stock position, particularly in the major producing state of Uttar Pradesh.

The sugar industry has a re-export obligation of about one million tonne, out of a total 2.3 million tonne under the advance license scheme. The official production estimate projects sugar output during 2006-07 at 227-230 lakh tonne, while the industry projection ranges from 230-235 lakh tonne. Domestic sugar consumption is pegged at 190 lakh tonne for the current sugar year. With an opening stock of about 40 lakh tonne, surplus sugar stock has been put at 77-80 lakh tonne.

On the issue of wheat production, Pawar said that the timely onset of winter has augured well for the wheat crop, which has registered an impressive 10 per cent higher acreage this year compared to last year's level.

"There is no adverse impact on the winter sown crops", Pawar said, adding that he had reviewed crop situation from the meteorological perspective till Monday and there was no report of any adverse impact in crops, including the main Rabi crop - wheat.

Sowing of wheat crop is almost coming to an end in almost all the growing states.

The government's special focus on increasing the wheat acreage during this Rabi season is showing results as the acreage till last week stood at 232.59 lakh hectare as against 210.62 lakh hectare in the year-ago period. This year higher coverage has been reported in Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

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First Published: Dec 19, 2006 22:30 IST