Pawar says sugar mills may start crushing this week

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New Delhi, Nov. 10 (ANI): Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said that sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh are expected to resolve their price row with farmers, and are likely to begin cane crushing this week.

Cane growers in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state, which accounts for half of the country's cane output, have intensified their stir to demand higher state-set cane price, delaying cane crushing and forcing the state government to ban supplies of imported raws.

"Mill owners feel that this week they will be able to resolve and they will be able to start. And if they (farmers) hold talks with mill owners about the good prices, then they should succeed. We have told mill owners as well that today you are getting good prices of sugar so you should not upset farmers in such a situation," Pawar told reporters after a meeting with sugar mill owners.

Any delay in crushing threatens to aggravate sugar shortage in the country.

Lower cane output clipped sugar output by 43 percent to 15 million tonnes this year, prompting the government to abolish import tax on sugar in early 2009.

Since then mills have sealed, deals to import five million tonnes of raws and more than 300,000 tonnes of whites, leading to a massive rise in benchmark prices in New York and London.

Pawar said that there is a shortfall of sugar and when crushing starts soon in Uttar Pradesh, supplies will improve.

"It's a very simple thing that when production will increase then consumer's interest will also be served and we are trying our best that as soon as possible mills start crushing... then domestic sugar production plus imported processed sugar production, both of them together will increase the availability in the market," Pawar pointed out. (ANI)

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