New Delhi, November 28, 2023: In its 63rd council meeting, International Sugar Organisation (ISO), headquartered in London, has announced India to be the Chair of the organisation for 2024. This is a huge achievement for the country to lead the global sugar sector and reflection of growing stature of the country in this domain. While attending the ISO Council Meeting, Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary (Food), Government of India remarked that during its period of chairmanship of ISO in 2024, India seeks support and cooperation from all member countries and would like to focus on bringing together all member countries to adopt more sustainable practices in sugarcane cultivation, sugar and ethanol production and better utilisation of by-products.
India has been the largest consumer and second largest producer of sugar in the world. With about 15% share in global sugar consumption and about 20% production of sugar, Indian sugar trends affects the global markets profusely. This leading position makes India as the most suitable nation to lead International Sugar Organisation (ISO) which is the apex international body on sugar and relating products having about 90 countries as members.
With Brazil in the Western Hemisphere, India is the market leader in Eastern Hemisphere for sugar market. Now, being the 3rd largest country in the world in ethanol production after USA and Brazil, India has shown commitment towards green energy and its capability to twist the challenges of surplus sugar in domestic market to solution of fossil fuels imports and a tool to meet COP 26 targets for India. It is remarkable that ethanol blending percentage in India has increased from 5% in 2019-20 to 12% in 2022-23 while the production has increased from 173 crore litres to more than 500 crore litres during the same period.
Indian sugar industry has come a long way in modernisation and expansion as well as in diversification to exploitation of potential of its by-products to generate additional revenue streams to make the whole business model both sustainable and profitable. It has proven its robustness during Covid pandemic by operating its mills while the country was facing lockdown and rising to the occasion by producing hand sanitisers sufficient to meet the demand in the country.
India has a unique distinction of being the Payer of the Highest Cane Price to its farmers and still efficient enough to make profits and operating in self-sufficient manner without any Government financial assistance. Synergy between Government and sugar industry has made it possible to rejuvenate Indian sugar industry and to transform into a major player in green energy in the country. The era of pending cane dues of farmers has become a thing of past. More than 98% cane dues of last season 2022-23 have already been paid and more than 99.9% cane dues of previous seasons are clear. Thus, cane dues pendency is at all time low in India.
India has set the example by not only taking care of farmers and industry but also by putting consumers first. Domestic sugar retail prices are consistent and stable. While the global prices are hiked by about 40% in one year, India has been able to contain sugar prices within 5% increase from last year without putting additional burden on the industry.
On technical side also, National Sugar Institute, Kanpur has spread its wings and is collaborating with many countries including Indonesia, Nigeria, Egypt, Fiji etc. for sharing the latest technologies in the sector and best practices.