INDIA: Food and Consumer Affairs minister plans to increase wheat and sugar exports
Surrounded by huge stockpiles of sugar and wheat, India's Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, Shanta Kumar, has announced his intention to aggressively drive exports of the commodities. Government efforts to increase wheat export levels during the last few months have so far proved unsuccessful, and the required buffer stock of 13m tons has swelled to 37m tons held within the Food Corporation of India's warehouses. Similarly, the drive to sell off sugar became an urgent priority as the extra stocks mounted to over 5m tons. According to trade projections, the Indian sugar industry will produce a further 0.9m tons on top of this years' 17.6m tons during 2000-01, and the sluggish mechanisms of the Commerce Ministry's export approvals need revising. Kumar explained: "We must enter the foreign markets not only for wheat, but also for sugar." He did not explain the details of his aggressive plan but stressed that "we will take the steps necessary to boost exports."
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