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India to Chair International Sugar Organisation in 2024 to Lead Global Sugar Sector

India's leadership in the ISO in 2024 is poised to usher in a new era of sustainable practices, innovation, and collaboration within the international sugar community.

Shivam Dwivedi
India to Chair International Sugar Organisation in 2024 to Lead Global Sugar Sector (Photo Source: Pexels)
India to Chair International Sugar Organisation in 2024 to Lead Global Sugar Sector (Photo Source: Pexels)

In a landmark decision at its 63rd council meeting, the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), headquartered in London, declared India as the Chair of the organization for the year 2024. This prestigious appointment underscores India's growing influence in the global sugar sector and positions the country as a key player in shaping the industry's future.

During the ISO Council Meeting, Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary (Food), Government of India, expressed gratitude for the honor and emphasized India's commitment to promoting sustainable practices in sugarcane cultivation, sugar and ethanol production, and the efficient utilization of by-products. He called for support and cooperation from all member countries, highlighting the need for collective efforts to address challenges and foster a more sustainable sugar industry worldwide.

India, boasting the title of the largest consumer and the second-largest producer of sugar globally, wields significant influence, with a 15% share in global sugar consumption and a 20% share in production. With approximately 90 countries as members, the ISO plays a pivotal role in coordinating international efforts within the sugar and related products domain.

As the market leader in the Eastern Hemisphere, complementing Brazil's position in the Western Hemisphere, India's ascension to the ISO chairmanship reflects its strategic importance in the global sugar landscape. Moreover, ranking as the third-largest ethanol producer globally, after the USA and Brazil, India has demonstrated a strong commitment to green energy, leveraging its sugar surplus to address fossil fuel dependence and contribute to achieving COP 26 targets.

The impressive growth in ethanol production in India is evident from the increase in blending percentages, rising from 5% in 2019-20 to 12% in 2022-23. During this period, ethanol production surged from 173 crore liters to over 500 crore liters, showcasing the nation's capability to adapt and contribute to sustainable energy solutions.

The Indian sugar industry's resilience was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, with mills operational during lockdowns and the production of hand sanitisers to meet the country's demand. The industry's ability to modernize, expand, and diversify into by-product utilization has created additional revenue streams, making the business model both sustainable and profitable.

A noteworthy achievement is India's status as the payer of the highest cane price to farmers, while remaining self-sufficient without government financial assistance. The synergy between the government and the sugar industry has revitalized the sector, transforming it into a major player in green energy. Cane dues, once a concern, have reached an all-time low, with over 98% of dues from the last season already settled and more than 99.9% of previous seasons cleared.

India's approach prioritizes consumers, as domestic sugar retail prices remain stable despite a 40% global price hike in one year. This balanced strategy ensures the industry's sustainability without imposing additional burdens. On the technical front, the National Sugar Institute in Kanpur collaborates with multiple countries, including Indonesia, Nigeria, Egypt, Fiji, sharing the latest technologies and best practices, further contributing to the global advancement of the sugar industry.

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