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HomeIndustry & UpdatesPiyush Goyal calls for raising sugar production further

Piyush Goyal calls for raising sugar production further

Amid record export of sugar during the 2020-21 season (October-September), Food Minister Piyush Goyal has called for further increase in production with the aim of tapping the global demand. He also suggested that researchers explore new areas of consumption to give a boost to the sugar industry.

“We should all work together so that the sugar industry gets expanded, the production is further increased. Let the industry grow with reforms and meet the global demand,” Goyal said at the convocation of Kanpur-based National Sugar Institute though virtual address.

The country’s sugar production jumped 14 per cent to about 31 million tonnes in 2020-21 from the previous season whereas export surged over 19 per cent to 7.1 million tonnes.

Need to make the sugar industry value chain more beneficial to all stakeholders, says Food Secretary

Goyal also said that the government is confident of ethanol blending (with petrol) to reach the targeted 20 per cent in the next three years from the current 8.5-9 per cent level. “This will help both sugarcane farmers and the sugar mills,” he added.

Taking the cue from chocolates

The minister also appealed to researchers to find ways to popularise India’s “mithais” outside the country like chocolates so that sugar consumption is also increased. The consumption has grown 27 per cent to reach 26.5 million tonnes during the past decade while production has more than doubled in the same period.

“The quality of sugar in India is the best. Like chocolates are found all over the world, can our mithais (sweets) replace chocolates at some stage? If mithais could make their way into the hearts of people in other countries, then our sugar products will get a natural market without needing any subsidies or government intervention,” Goyal said.

Why the sugarcane-crushing season is set to start on a bitter note

Industry experts said that farmers are sticking to sugarcane despite not being paid their dues by mills in time as it is the most profitable crop compared to others. The gross returns over cost of production (A2+FL) in sugarcane is 100 per cent compared with 50 per cent in case of cotton+wheat and 47 per cent in paddy+wheat. The recurring problem of plenty sugar can be addressed by finding a solution to this distortion, the experts said.

Rationalising sugarcane pricing

“Indian sugar has to become globally competitive and for that sugarcane pricing has to be rationalised and made reasonable,” industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association had said in a representation to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) last month. High cane prices make Indian sugar uncompetitive and always dependent on subsidies on exports, it said.

Goyal said that while the cane arrears in Uttar Pradesh have come down to about ₹3,500 crore for the 2020-21 season, the dues of previous seasons have been cleared. He said in the coming days these arrears would also be cleared by mills.

The above news was originally posted on www.thehindubusinessline.com

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