The sugar industry on Wednesday hailed various steps taken by the government to increase the availability of the sweetener in domestic market, saying the decisions are in the right direction.

"There is a deficit of sugar in the country. The government has put provisions in place to increase the availability of sweetener in the market," Indian Sugar Mills Association President Vivek Saraogi told PTI.

The government's decisions such as allowing processing of imported raw sugar in other states as there is a ban imposed by the Uttar Pradesh government and extension of duty-free white sugar import deadline till December 2010 are on the right track, he said.

Industry body FICCI also welcomed the government's moves to augment sugar and other food items to contain rising food inflation, which has touched nearly 20 per cent. Sugar prices have more than doubled to Rs 45 a kg since January last year.

Besides sugar, the Cabinet Committee on Prices today also decided to offload 2-3 million tonnes of wheat and rice in the open market. It has asked cooperative major Nafed and NCCF to sell 7 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice through their outlets.

"FCCI is convinced that concerted action for enhancement of supplies and coordination among state governments should help overcome supply disruptions and shortages, thereby easing pressure on prices," the industry chamber said. Sugar production from domestically grown sugarcane is pegged at 16 million tonnes, while annual demand is at 23 million tonnes. The gap is being met through imports.

source: deccanherald


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