New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting on Monday to deliberate on the objections raised by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar over export of farm commodities such as sugar and cotton.

 The Prime Minister will chair two meetings on Monday one of them would be on agricultural products, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters here on Sunday.

Pawar had earlier said: "There is no problem on rice and wheat exports. The question comes about cotton and sugar exports. We are discussing this subject on April 30 and will take some view."

According to sources, the meeting would be attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Food Minister K V Thomas and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

However, Pawar had played down the issue of differences cropping within the government on export of farm items.

"There is nothing like that. The decision to export more sugar has been taken. All these issues (export of agri items) are decided together... There are no differences nor there is any intention to corner anyone," Pawar had earlier said when asked whether his views on export policy are not taken seriously.

 Earlier this month, Pawar had shot off a letter to the Prime Minister stating that the government's export policies are hurting farmers, who are being asked to subsidise the industry.

In the letter, Pawar had strongly criticised the Food Ministry, headed by K V Thomas, and the Textile Ministry under the charge of Anand Sharma for the policies which are "ambivalent" and go against farmers.

Describing restriction on cotton exports as "retrograde", Pawar had said: "Indian cotton farmers should not be asked to bear the burden of subsidising the textile mills."

Similarly, Pawar had said the "negative approach" of the Food Department in allowing sugar exports has led to heavy losses in export earnings which could have been used to clear cane arrears to farmers that have crossed Rs 8,000 crore.


(Agencies)