Govt lowers sugar output estimate to 23 mn tons for 2012-13

Govt lowers sugar output estimate to 23 mn tons for 2012-13 New Delhi: The government on Tuesday revised downwards the estimate of the country's total sugar output to 23 million tonnes in the current marketing year that will be just sufficient to meet the demand.

At the beginning of the ongoing 2012-13 marketing year (October-September), the Food Ministry had pegged sugar output at 24 million tonnes, against 26.06 million tonnes last year.

"Sugar production in the current season 2012-13 is estimated to be sufficient to meet the estimated domestic consumption requirement," Food Minister K V Thomas said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

In 2012-13, sugar production and consumption is likely to be 23 million tonnes, he said.

"As such, large surplus production of sugar in this season is not expected at present," the minister noted.

Last year, the country had produced 26.06 million tonnes of sugar, while domestic requirement was 22.3 million tonnes.

On export and import policy on sugar, Thomas said, "Changes in export policy would be made, if considered appropriate depending upon the production, availability and international as well as domestic prices of sugar."

In May, sugar exports were kept under the Open General Licence (OGL) only till September.

As regards revision of import duty, the minister said that no decision has been taken by the government so far.

However, the Food Ministry has recommended a hike in import duty on white sugar to 20 percent in order to check flooding of the sweetener in the domestic market.

At present, import duty on white sugar as well as raw sugar is at 10 percent each.

To a separate query on hiking price of sugar sold in ration shops, Thomas said, "The price of sugar meant for sale in PDS is Rs 13.50 per kg since March 2002. No decision to increase its price has been taken by the government."

PTI