Agri Business

Pawar favours sugar exports in tranches

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Mr Sharad Pawar, Union Agriculture Minister   -  Business Line

The Government is likely to allow fresh sugar exports, but in limited quantities at regular intervals. The Empowered Group of Ministers on Food is scheduled to meet on Thursday (October 20) to discuss export policy and prices of food grains, said Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar.

Speaking at the Economic Editors conference, Mr Pawar favoured exports of sugar in limited quantities either on monthly or weekly basis as bulk exports could depress international prices. “Our decision to allow sugar exports should not impact global prices,” he said.

Mr Pawar noted that whenever India decides to export sugar, the global prices fall and when the country decides to import, the prices rise. The Government, Mr Pawar said, was cautious on allowing exports so as to ensure domestic availability to keep prices under check.

The sugar industry has sought further export permits in anticipation of bumper output in sugar year 2011-12 starting October. In 2010-11, the sugar industry was permitted to export 1.5 million tonnes.

Bumper output

Sugar production is seen at 26 million tonnes in the current sugar year, while consumption is likely to be around 22 million tonnes, according to industry estimates. By the end of current year, India is likely to have a sugar surplus of 9.8 million tonnes.

In a bid to overcome the farm sector labour shortage, the Government proposes to introduce a plan for agricultural mechanisation in the Twelfth plan period starting 2012.

Anti-poverty programmes

The implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and other anti-poverty programmes has put pressure on availability of farm labour. “While we are attempting to innovatively utilise MNREGA for augmenting activities that directly add to farm productivity; for compensating scarcity of labour, I am proposing a large programme for agriculture mechanisation during 12{+t}{+h} Plan,” Mr Pawar said.

The strategies for rejuvenating the agriculture sector have been working well. “We will now be able to achieve the targeted 4 per cent growth,” Mr Pawar said.

Food grain production reached a record high of 241.6 million tonnes in 2010-11. “The overall farm output achieved an impressive growth of 7.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2010-11 thus helping achieve agriculture GDP to register a growth of 6.6 per cent during the year,” Mr Pawar said.

The monsoons this year have been very encouraging and so also the crop outlook. “We are confident that we will be able to surpass our own production record set last year,” Mr Pawar said.

Published on October 19, 2011

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