Sugar output may exceed demand in next 3 yrs: K V Thomas

India’s sugar productionis expected to be “comfortable” and above the annual demand of 22 million tonnes during the next three years, Food Minister K V Thomas said today.

Sugar production has touched 24 million tonnes in the ongoing 2012-13 marketing year (September-October) against the forecast of 24.6 million tonnes. The output is, however, lower than 26 million tonnes achieved in the previous year.

“Out assessment is (that) 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 will be a comfortable year for India in the sugar sector,” Thomas told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

India’s sugar demand is about 22 million tonnes, while the output in the next three years is likely to be more than the demand, he said.

The assessment on sugar output came out during a recent discussion with the Agriculture Minister on ways to revive the entire sugar sector in the coming years, he added.

Stressing the need to strengthen the sugar industry, Thomas said his ministry has prepared a paper in this regard in consultation with the Agriculture Ministry and will be discussed with stakeholders next month in Kanpur.

“I think by third week of May, there will be a meeting at a Sugar institute in Kanpur. All experts and stakeholders of the industry will discuss and chalk out various programmes for improvement of the sugar sector,” he said.

Early this month, the government partially decontrolled the sugar sector by giving sugar mills the freedom to sell in the open market and unshackled them from the obligation of supplying the sweetener at subsidised rates for ration shop.

India is the world’s second biggest sugar producer after Brazil.

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