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Union Minister Pralhad Joshi Inaugurates 64th ISO Council Meeting in India, Focuses on Sustainability and Innovation in Sugar Industry

The event fostered international collaboration on sustainable practices and technological innovations in the sugar industry with experts from over 30 countries.

Saurabh Shukla
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi Inaugurates 64th ISO Council Meeting in India, Focuses on Sustainability and Innovation in Sugar Industry (Photo Source: @iso_sugar/X)
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi Inaugurates 64th ISO Council Meeting in India, Focuses on Sustainability and Innovation in Sugar Industry (Photo Source: @iso_sugar/X)

Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and New and Renewable Energy, Pralhad Joshi, inaugurated the 64th Council Meeting of the International Sugar Organization (ISO) at Bharat Mandapam today June 25, 2024. The meeting, which will conclude on June 27, 2024, has attracted experts from over 30 countries to discuss future possibilities, challenges, and strategies in the sugarcane, sugar, and allied sectors. Notably, India last hosted the 41st session of the ISO Council Meeting in 2012.

During his inaugural address, Union Minister highlighted that nearly 5 crore farmers are engaged in sugarcane cultivation, providing ample employment opportunities both directly and indirectly. He emphasized that the Government of India, under the leadership of PM Modi, prioritizes the welfare of farmers and the interests of consumers and the industry.

Joshi expressed pride in hosting the ISO conference and underscored India's commitment to advancing technology and skills in the sugar and biofuel sectors. He noted India's cultural and economic reliance on sugar, its status as the world's largest sugar consumer, and its significant role as a biofuel producer, achieving over 12% ethanol blending with petrol and aiming for 20% soon.

Joshi highlighted the role of biofuels in combating climate change and detailed the positive impacts of India's Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme on the sugar industry and farmers. He encouraged delegates to leverage the conference for future ventures in the sugar sector and wished for its success.

Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary of the Department of Food & Public Distribution and Chairman of ISO suggested a larger role for ISO in the future. He emphasized the urgent need for the global sugar and ethanol industry to tackle climate change through sustainable practices, such as developing drought-resistant sugarcane, conserving water, and promoting biofuels. Chopra also highlighted the importance of collaboration among ISO member countries in using modern technology for farmers and small players.

He called for synchronized research and development efforts between India and Brazil, the top two sugar-producing countries, to develop better varieties of sugarcane suited to local conditions with higher yield and sucrose content. Chopra praised India's steps in ethanol production and blending, underscoring the nation's commitment to sustainability and encouraging international cooperation.

Jose Orive, Executive Director of ISO, congratulated India on successfully handling ISO matters as Chair and grandly organizing the event. He appreciated the synergy between the Government of India and the Indian sugar and biofuel industry, which has played an instrumental role in the sector's progress.

A workshop titled "Sugar & Bio-Energy – Emerging Vistas" was also held, providing a platform for industry leaders and government officers to exchange ideas and explore prospects in the sugar and bio-energy sectors. The workshop included sessions on sustainability through diversification, mechanization, and modernization of the sugar sector, digitization of the sugar sector, global demand and supply of sugar, and the potential of green hydrogen as a source of energy.

The conference offered delegates the opportunity to interact with sector experts, understand global trends, and deliberate on various relevant topics for sugar and ethanol. The sessions facilitated productive discussions and ensured a meaningful exchange of ideas, steering conversations towards impactful outcomes.

The conference highlighted India's commitment to fostering international collaboration and innovation in the sugar industry, paving the way for sustainable and advanced practices in the sector.

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