June 5, 2018 / 10:42 AM / 2 months ago

India plans to build stockpile of 3 million tonnes sugar: Ram Vilas Paswan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will consider building stockpiles of 3 million tonnes of sugar, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday, to prop up local prices and help money-losing mills pay dues to millions of cane growers, a key voting bloc.

FILE PHOTO: A farmer works in his sugarcane field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India February 28, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

The world’s second-biggest sugar producer will also make available 45 billion rupees ($669.89 million) in soft loans to sugar mills to expand ethanol production capacity, Paswan told reporters.

Local sugar prices have dropped to their lowest in 28 months, exacerbating financial woes of sugar mills. Citing their poor financial health, mills have said they are unable to pay cane farmers on time.

Mills now owe nearly 220 billion rupees, which could leap to a record 250 billion rupees in the current 2017/18 season.

($1 = 67.1750 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Malini Menon

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