WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today reassigned projected surplus beet and cane sugar marketing allotments and allocations for fiscal 2009 in an effort to increase the availability of domestically produced sugar.

Sugar marketing allocations were transferred from processors with insufficient supply to those who had more supply than allocation, the U.S.D.A. said.

"We are taking this action today to help sugar processors expand their marketing efforts, which will help increase the availability of domestically produced sugar," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said.

There was no change in the overall allotment quantity of 8,925,000 short tons, raw value, for fiscal 2009 (October-September or 2008-09 marketing year) announced Sept. 30, 2008.

The original beet sugar allocation of 4,850,738 tons was reduced by 198,073 tons, and the cane sugar allocation of 4,074,262 tons was reduced by 561,510 tons, with the total 759,583 tons reassigned to raw sugar imports as required by law since domestic producers will be unable to fill their full allotments.

"The surplus allotments were allocated to imports that were already expected under the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (May 12) report; thus, there will be no increase in projected raw sugar imports due to the reassignment," the U.S.D.A. said.

"This reassignment will substantially increase the available supplies of domestically produced refined beet sugar," the U.S.D.A. said. "Before the reassignment, the marketing allotment program was preventing several domestic beet processors from marketing all of their beet sugar production.

"Due to uncertainties that still exist in forecasting each company’s and sector’s fiscal year 2009 sugar production, more allocation is left with the companies than is expected to finally be used in fiscal year 2009. Further reassignments are likely."