Govt will regulate prices of sugar: Pawar
New Delhi, Mar 6: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today alluded to the fact that the country was heading from a sugar deficit situation to one with a surplus from next year onwards and affirmed that stabilility of prices of the commodity will be maintained through prudent management of its demand-supply.
Replying to a spate of supplementaries in the Lok Sabha, Mr Pawar said this year the farmers are getting the highest price of sugar cane as compared to the last three years, but stated that the government has to maintain an equilibrium in the interests of the consumers, sugarcane growers and sugar producing factories.
The Minister said sugarcane growers got a raw deal in the last three years because of low production of the crop, but expected the surplus to grow in the next three years. The government had been able to regulate prices and maintain their stability by taking recourse to release orders for the commodity and would do so if prices began to soar at any stage.
Mr Pawar, however, did not give a clear cut answer as to whether prices of sugar will be lowered to cater to the demand arising from the coming Holi festival, but said the government has to look after the interests of all stakeholders.
The Minister said only ten per cent of the total production of sugar was intended for the Public Distribution System and the rest was for sale in the market.
Mr Pawar said the situation this year was so favourable for sugarcane producers that the factories were vying with farmers to procure sugarcane from them.
He said some state governments have been advising the sugar factories to pay cane prices generally at levels higher than the Statutory Minimum Price (SMP).