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India committed to develop latest tech in sugar sector: Pralhad Joshi

Addressing a gathering at the 64th International Sugar Organisation (ISO) Council Meeting in the national capital, the minister said that sugar production is expected to be good this year depending upon the rains.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 13:47 IST

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New Delhi: Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday said that India is committed to actively collaborating with ISO (International Sugar Organisation) member countries on developing cutting-edge technologies and sharing expertise in the sugar and biofuel sector.

Addressing a gathering at the 64th International Sugar Organisation (ISO) Council Meeting in the national capital, the minister said that sugar production is expected to be good this year depending upon the rains.

"Sharing best practices and fostering research collaboration across nations is vital. Let us work together to develop high-yielding, disease-resistant sugarcane varieties, explore innovative uses for sugarcane, and promote sustainable practices throughout the value chain," Joshi said.

He said that advanced technologies across the sugar value chain should be increasingly adapted as they will be crucial for reducing waste and ensuring the sustainability of the industry.

India is the world's largest consumer of sugar and the second-largest sugar-producing country globally. About 10 million farmers and their dependents are engaged in sugarcane cultivation. In addition, the industry is providing employment to lakhs of people directly and indirectly, Joshi said.

Sugarcane serves as a key crop in the biofuel industry. India's journey with biofuels is positively impacting both -- economic growth and agricultural prosperity.

ISO should continue to collaborate on enhancing farm productivity. Our priority should not only be to improve farm income but also to minimise water usage.

Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, said climate change puts a huge responsibility on all the ISO members as well as the sugar and ethanol industry to contribute to take the world towards net zero. To achieve this, the sugar and ethanol sector needs to focus on three multi-faceted strategies: developing drought-resistant or low water-consuming varieties of sugarcane, implementing water conservation in sugar production, and transitioning the world from fossil fuels to biofuels, he said.

India will meet its domestic consumption of sugar and will cater for the diversion of sugar for ethanol production as far as possible. While the blending percentage for May 2024 was more than 15 per cent, overall blending for the whole ESY (Ethanol Supply Year) 2023-24 till date has also been at about 12.8 per cent which is higher than last year, Chopra said.

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Published 25 June 2024, 13:47 IST

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