Concerned over spiralling prices of sugar, the Prime Minister's economic advisory panel today asked the government to "urgently" import 3-5 million tonnes of the sweetener to bridge the demand-supply gap.
"It is imperative that urgent steps are taken to import white sugar to the extent of shortfall in availability which may be assessed at somewhere in the region of 3 to 5 million tonnes," said Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan in his report on the economy.
The current sugar year (October-September) began with a record low stock of less than 2 million tonnes, the report said, adding the output was likely to dip further to 14 million tonnes from 14.7 million tonnes in the previous season.
"The expected output of sugar, including processed raw sugar... Is unlikely to be much more than 14 million tonnes," the report said.
The PMEAC's estimate of sugar output is lower than the government's projection of 15.5 million tonnes for 2009-10 as against the domestic demand of about 22 million tonnes.
Driven by production shortfall, the prices of sugar, khandsari and gur shot up by over 51 per cent in December 2009.