Image Credits: The Indian Express
Mumbai, May 4 NCP president Sharad Pawar today said that effective steps needed to be taken to improve the condition of the sugar industry that was reeling under low prices due to rise in production.
The former Union Agriculture minister, while addressing a meeting of representatives of sugar mills, said the sector was facing a crisis because of over-production.
He asked the Centre to compensate sugar exporters for the losses for the next two years as production is expected to grow further during this period.
“Comparing international and domestic market prices, there will be a loss of Rs 8 per kilogram during export,” He said.
He asked industry representatives to form a committee to deliberate on the issues facing the sector and to make a detailed presentation of it to the Union government.
“Allowing sugar mills to manufacture ethanol and permission to sell it to petrol pumps are also some of the issues,” Pawar said.
Suggesting the inclusion of sugar in the items sent to developing countries as part of India’s assistance to them, Pawar said that it would improve the market situation here.
“If about 50 to 60 lakh tonne sugar is earmarked for export as well as helping poor countries, the market situation here will improve considerably,” Pawar said.
The NCP chief said that creating a buffer stock of sugar would not help in easing the situation for the sector.
State Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, who also attended the meeting, said that low sugar prices, repayment of bank loans, revision of FRP formula and inclusion of the cost of sugar production while fixing the minimum support price were some of the issues which needed to be addressed.
“This year monsoon was good and there was good sugarcane crop unlike previous years. But its prices have fallen. There is need to separate consumer and commercial rates of sugar,”she said.
The minister added that industry was suffering and there should be restructuring of loans.
“The state government has provided soft loans to sugar mills,” she said.