Niti Aayog task force to find a long-term solution to sugar sector woes

The government think-tank Niti Aayog has constituted a task force on the sugar industry to find a long-term solution to the problems faced by the sector, Parliament was informed Tuesday.

The task force was established in December 2018 under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

“With a view to finding a long-term solution for the sugarcane and sugar industry so as to rationalize their dependence on states’ assistance while at the same time encourage farm diversification to reduce adverse impact on the water sector, a task force on sugarcane and sugar industry has been constituted…” he further said.

Saying that the sugar industry is cyclic in nature, Paswan said every few years of high sugar production are followed by low production periods.

“In surplus phase, the ex-mill price of sugar in the domestic market gets depressed leading to low realization resulting in accumulation of cane price arrears of farmers,” he further said.

The minister also mentioned that the government has to intervene regularly to boost the liquidity of sugar mills for clearing the big cane arrears.

Paswan pointed that the government has taken many long-term measures such as fixing minimum selling price to help millers and allowing production of ethanol from B-heavy molasses and cane juices.

“These measures are expected to minimize the support required by the sugar industry from the government,” he further said.