Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Govt’s sugar policies ensured stable retail prices, timely payment to farmers: Official


The government’s policies for the sugar sector have ensured stability in retail prices of sweetener in the domestic markets over the past few years and timely payment to sugarcane farmers, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Asserting that the policy of the government has remained consistent, the official said the policies need to be dynamic and flexible to meet the requiremen­ts of the country as sugarcane crop depends on agro-climatic conditions.

“It is pertinent to note that sugar prices have been stable in India while global prices of sugar saw unpreceden­ted volatility, reaching 13 years high in 2023,” the official said.

On the other hand, 99.9 per cent cane dues of farmers for 2022-23 season and earlier seasons have already been cleared. About 84 per cent cane dues of current 2023-24 season (October-September) are already cleared, the official said, adding that the cane dues to farmers are at a historic low.

With India being the world’s largest consumer of sugar, the official said that the government’s first priority is to ensure the availabili­ty of sufficient sugar at reasonable prices for consumers and also have sufficient closing stock at the end of the season.

“Then, sugar is diverted for ethanol and only surplus sugar is allowed for exports,” the official said, adding that exports are restricted from June 2022.

“It is this government which has ensured consistent policies to safeguard interest of Indian farmers and consumers, and making the industry self-sufficient,” the official said.

Further, the official highlighte­d that the government’s Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme has been a great success and has played a crucial role in bringing the sugar sector out of crisis.

Ethanol production capacity from sugar/molasses in the country has crossed 900 crore litres which is more than 4 times the capacity 10 years back.

“Achievemen­t of 12 per cent ethanol blending was unimaginab­le 10 years back with just 1.5 per cent blending taking India among the top countries in ethanol production and blending in petrol. India is poised to achieve 20 per cent ethanol blending in 2025,” the official said. The official added that the Government of India is committed to balancing the interests of sugarcane farmers, consumers and industry in the national interest.

‘It is pertinent to note that sugar prices have been stable in India while global prices of sugar reached 13 years high in 2023’

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