ISMA giving misleading production figure; no need to import sugar: Ram Vilas Paswan


The government and industry body ISMA are not on the same page about production estimate for current year's sugar production as food minister Ram Vilas Paswan has accused ISMA of giving misleading projections for the sugar production.

ISMA has said that the country will produce more than 25 million tonnes of sugar in 2017-18. It's the projections for next year and it will influence key policy decision about import of the sweetener.

Food minister Ram Vilas Paswan had accused ISMA of misleading the industry and the farmers and ruled out need of any imports. ISMA too is firmly opposed to imports and it has said that the government needs to consider sugar production of two consecutive years to decide anything about imports.

"Decision to import sugar does not depend upon one year's sugar production. India will produce 25 million tonnes or more sugar in 2017-18 as the next year's sugar production of Uttar Pradesh is expected to more than the current year," said T Sarita Reddy, president, ISMA.

The trade body expects increase in area under sugarcane in the drought hit states of Maharashtra and Karnataka during the next crushing season. Sugar production of Maharashtra, which used to be the top sugar producer of the country, has hit the decade's low in 2016-17 as a result of two consecutive droughts.

ISMA revised its production estimate downward to 20.3 million tonnes early this month from its second advance estimate of 21.3 million tonnes announced in January. ISMA's first advance estimate issued in September 2016 had pegged sugar production at 23.37 million tonnes, up by a lakh tonne from its preliminary estimate of 23.26 million tonnes.

"With higher sugarcane availability expected in next season in Maharashtra, the sugar mills in West as well as in South India should be starting their crushing in first half of October 2017 which is the usual practice therein. Also, with Diwali now being earlier on October 19, 2017, the mills in North India will also start by latter part of October 2017. Hence, sugar from new season would be available in the market by end of October 2017," ISMA had said in it's latest release.


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