Double-check sugar output numbers, Centre tells states
NEW DELHI: Wary of potential under-reporting by millers, the Union food ministry has asked states to double-check if lower sugar production of 22.5 million tonnes estimated for the second straight year in 2016-17 is correct.
The states have been told not to depend solely on Union agriculture ministry’s cane production data for calculating likely sugar output amid doubts about farm production figures, especially in the case of wheat.
In a meeting with sugar-producing states yesterday, the Union food ministry officials noticed not much change in the sugar production data submitted by the states except Uttar Pradesh, which quoted a higher figure.
After analysing the figures, the ministry maintained that the country’s overall production is projected to be 22.5 million tonnes in the 2016-17 marketing year (October-September).
A senior food ministry official said the production numbers will be revised later after taking into account likely sugar output from mid-year cane crop in April-May in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
To get an accurate picture of sugar production for taking right policy decision, the official said: “States have been told to check the cane production figures on their own by analysing the field data and taking help of satellite images maintained by the sugar industry. They were asked not rely solely on agriculture ministry’s cane output data.”
The states have been told to collect mill-wise sugar yields instead of taking the states’ average while estimating the sugar output so as to check if mills are under-reporting, the official said.
“There are possibilities that mills may be underreporting production figures… The mill-wise sugar yields will help get the accurate picture,” the official added.
Sugar production of India, the world’s second-largest producer and biggest consumer, is estimated to be lower in 2016-17 due to a possible sharp drop in Maharashtra and Karnataka due to drought. The output stood at 25.1 million tonnes during 2015-16 marketing year.
Source: ECONOMIC TIMES
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