India, the largest consumer and second-largest producer of sugar globally, has achieved a remarkable feat by being named the Chair of the International Sugar Organisation (ISO) for the year 2024.
According to a press release by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, this announcement came during the 63rd council meeting of the ISO held in London, signifying India’s ascendancy in the global sugar sector.
Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary (Food), Government of India, expressed India’s commitment to spearheading sustainable practices in sugarcane cultivation, sugar and ethanol production and maximising the utilisation of by-products.
With a substantial 15 per cent share in global sugar consumption and contributing 20 per cent to global sugar production, India’s influence on global sugar trends is undeniable, said the press release.
The country’s status as the largest consumer and the second-largest producer makes it an ideal candidate to lead the apex international body for sugar-related products, the International Sugar Organisation, which boasts a membership of around 90 countries.
While Brazil holds the sway in the Western Hemisphere, India, standing as the market leader in the Eastern Hemisphere, plays a pivotal role in shaping the global sugar market. Furthermore, India’s ascent to being the third-largest country in the world in ethanol production underscores its commitment to green energy and addressing challenges related to surplus sugar in the domestic market, said the press release.
India’s proactive approach toward green energy is evident in its remarkable increase in ethanol blending, reaching 12 per cent in the financial year 2022-23, up from 5 per cent in 2019-20. This aligns with the country’s efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and contribute to meeting COP 26 targets. Ethanol production has surged from 173 crore litres to over 500 crore litres during the same period.
The Indian sugar industry has showcased resilience and adaptability, which was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry has proven its robustness by operating mills during lockdowns and contributing to the country’s demand for hand sanitisers.
Importantly, India has become the payer of the highest cane price to its farmers while maintaining efficiency, profitability, and self-sufficiency without relying on Government financial assistance.
The sugar industry’s synergy with the Government has resulted in a historic low in cane dues pendency. More than 98 per cent of cane dues for the 2022-23 season have been cleared, and over 99.9 per cent of cane dues from previous seasons have been settled, stated the press release. This reflects the industry’s commitment to prioritising the well-being of farmers.
India has set a benchmark in keeping domestic sugar retail prices consistent and stable, limiting the increase to just 5 per cent, despite a global surge of about 40 per cent in one year, read the press release. This consumer-centric approach has positioned India as a responsible player in the global sugar market.
On the technical front, the National Sugar Institute in Kanpur has extended its collaboration with several countries, including Indonesia, Nigeria, Egypt, and Fiji, read the release. This collaboration aims to share the latest technologies and best practices in the sugar sector, showcasing India’s commitment to fostering international cooperation.
As India assumes the Chair of the International Sugar Organisation for 2024, the nation is poised to lead the global sugar industry toward sustainable practices, collaborative innovation, and responsible growth, further solidifying its standing as a key player in the international arena.
(with inputs from ANI)