New Delhi: “The outlook for India’s sugar output in 2009-10 is not promising, and the government may ask mills to increase supply of low-priced sugar for public distribution,” Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday.
Pawar informed during a conference of state food ministers that the government was worried about sugar supply and rising prices of farm commodities after weak monsoon rains hit crops and sowing.
“Sugar production prospects for the next sugar season are also not bright,” Pawar said.
He said that the government may raise the quantity of levy sugar that mills are required to sell to the government at cheap rates for distribution to the poor.
Currently, mills are forced to sell 10% of their output at low state-set prices, and media reports say this may be raised to 20%.
“The government is also considering increasing the percentage of levy sugar to make more sugar available through the public distribution system,” Pawar said.
Prospects of large imports by India, the world’s largest consumer of the sweetener, has helped raise sugar futures to the highest in nearly three decades.