18 November 2021, New Delhi: Amid record exports of sugar during the 2020-21 season (October-September), Food Minister Piyush Goyal has called for further increase in production to tap 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 and 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 through a virtual address.
The country’s sugar production jumped 14 per cent to 31 million tonnes (mt) in 2020-21 from the previous season whereas export surged to 7.1 mt.
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. The Minister also appealed to researchers to find ways to popularise India’s “mithais” (sweets) outside the country like chocolates so that sugar consumption is also increased. The consumption has grown 27 per cent to reach 26.5 mt 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 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.
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.