More non-levy sugar to meet festive demands

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2010, 06:00am hrs
To tide over increased demand for sugar during the coming festival months and marriage season, the central government has released a higher non-levy (free-sale) sugar quota for next month.

In a surprise move it also converted 360,000 tonne of unsold, undispatched and unreported non-levy (free-sale) sugar from 282 sugar mills into levy sugar (sugar sold through the PDS at low prices).

As per the official statement, the government ensured that around 17.91 lakh tonne of sugar is made available in February, almost 9.5% more than the previous month. In India, the Center has fixes the quantum of sugar that each mill can sell every month.

In the 17.91 lakh tonne, almost 12 lakh tonne would come from the normal non-levy quota, almost 100,000 tonne more than December, while 2.97 lakh tonne will come from white sugar processed from imported raws and 100,000 tonne from imported refined sugar.

For sale under the public distribution system (PDS), the government has released almost 194,000 tonne, slightly less than previous months allocation of 209,000 tonne.

Officials said more sugar has been made available for next month in view of some major festivals in early March and also start of the marriage season.

The central government has been under pressure to release more sugar in the open market after prices rose sharply on the back of low production and stable demand.

India sugar production in 2009-10 is expected to be around 14 to 16 mt, same as last year, while the demand is estimated to be around 23 million tonne, pushing retail prices to record levels.