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Govt may lift ban on sugar exports in October

Our Bureau

Record sugar output of 22 mt in new season likely


To be `out'law
The ban was imposed to stem the rise in domestic sugar price.
The curb was to continue till March 2007.


THE MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, Mr Sharad Pawar, having a word with the Director-General, ICAR, Dr Mangala Rai, at the 77th AGM of the Council in the Capital on Sunday. - Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , July 16

The Union Minister for Agriculture, Mr Sharad Pawar, on Sunday, said that the Government might allow resumption of sugar exports in October.

The ban was imposed to stem the rise in domestic sugar price and it was to continue till March 2007. However, with the country expecting a record sugar output of 22 million tonnes in the new season, Mr Pawar said that exports could be resumed.

The Government is also considering how to ensure that sugar mills, which had imported raw sugar with an obligation to re-export it after refining, are able to meet their commitments. "The demand of mills, which imported duty-free raw sugar, to be allowed to export whites is under consideration. We are giving a serious thought to it," Mr Pawar said at a conference on agriculture organised by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Earlier, while addressing the 77th annual general meeting of the ICAR Society, Mr Pawar also announced that the ICAR had successfully developed an indigenous vaccine against the bird flu disease. ICAR had provided Rs 8 crore for vaccine development programme immediately after the outbreak of the bird flu. Till now, the country was importing the vaccine to tackle the disease.

Mr Pawar said that the National Agricultural Innovation Project, being launched this month with the support from the World Bank, envisaged investments of over Rs 1,150 crore to help farmers increase their income and ensuring livelihood security.

Referring to the country's foodgrains scenario, Mr Pawar said that though the area under foodgrains had remained stagnant at around 125 million hectares for the last 25 years, the increase in production has been achieved through development and adoption of improved varieties possessing high yield and resistance to diseases and pests.

The Minister announced that an additional Rs 200 crore would be provided as assistance to the State agriculture universities to strengthen agriculture based education in the country.

Regarding stagnation in wheat production in recent years, Mr Pawar called for remedial measures to improve productivity. He also added that there was no immediate need to import wheat to augment buffer stock.

Related Stories:
Cabinet committee to decide on sugar exports by mills
Notification on sugar export ban causes ripples

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