India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar

India has emerged as the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar and the second largest exporter. In the sugar season (October-September) 2021-22, the country produced more than 5,000 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of sugarcane, of which about 3,574 LMT was crushed by sugar mills to produce about 394 LMT of sugar (sucrose). Out of this 35 LMT of sugar was produced for ethanol production and 359 LMT of sugar was produced by sugar mills.

According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, this season has proved to be crucial for the Indian sugar sector. Records of cane production, sugar production, sugar exports, cane procurement, cane arrears payment and ethanol production were all made during the season.

Another highlight of the season is the highest export of around 109.8 LMT, that too without any financial support which was being extended till 2020-21. Subsidiary international prices and the policy of the Government of India led to this achievement of the Indian sugar industry. These exports earned foreign exchange of about Rs 40,000 crore for the country.

The success story of the sugar industry is the result of the synchronous and collaborative efforts of the Central and State Governments, farmers, sugar mills, ethanol distilleries along with a very supportive overall ecosystem for business in the country. Timely government intervention over the last 5 years has been instrumental in making the sugar sector out of financial crisis in 2018-19 to the stage of self-reliance in 2021-22.

Officials said that during SS 2021-22, sugar mills procured sugarcane worth over Rs 1.18 lakh crore and released payments of over Rs 1.12 lakh crore without any financial assistance (subsidy) from the Centre. Thus, the cane arrears at the end of the sugar season are less than Rs 6,000 crore, indicating that 95 per cent of the cane arrears have already been cleared. It is also worth mentioning that for the sugar season 2020-21, more than 99.9 per cent cane arrears have been cleared.PLC/GT

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