Exchange of Technological Innovations Must to Make Sugar Industry Vibrant –Prfo. K.V. Thomas

The agro-climatic conditions in the country, sowing pattern and other factors like biotic affect the sugarcane production and make the industry cyclic in nature, resulting in low production of sugar, necessitating imports during certain years. This is one of our major concerns and it has been our concerted endeavour to break this cyclicality with multipronged policy interventions. This was stated by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution at the opening session of the International Sugar Organization’s (ISO) 41st council session here today. He said that with two consecutive years of comfortable production in the past and an excellent sugar season on hand, coupled with a favourable assessment projected for the next year; we are at the doorsill of achieving a long cherished dream. He said that in this endeavour India look forward with great expectations at the deliberations and the outcome of the interactive sessions of ISO. The best practices prevalent in member countries and the challenges that they face in the field s of sugarcane and sugar production will help us not only in understanding common problems that we face but in identifying solutions to ensure a balanced and increased sugar production in the country, he added.

Prof. Thomas said that being an agro-based economy by large, our primary concern is for the sugarcane farmer that he should get his due share for the labour, time and energies invested by him on the field. India follows a dual pricing policy in the sugarcane sector keeping in view mass welfare to ensure that the interests of all–the sugarcane farmer, the sugar manufacturing industry and the consumer – are taken care of. We try to strike a balance by ensuring that while fair and reasonable returns reach the farmer and the industry, the price of sugar is also kept under check, he said.

Underlining the importance of exchange of technological innovations, Prof. Thomas observed that exchange of know-how on molasses and bagasse for production of green energy and use of sugarcane in manufacture of jiggery, potable alcohol and chemicals would help the participating countries to grasp the full potential of sugarcane crops and the betterment of the sugar industry. The Minister said that there is no doubt that holistic development of sugar and allied industry in an integrated manner could play a catalytic role in providing stability to the industry. This can be ensured through mutual exchange of scientific knowledge and extension of technical support amongst member countries. He expressed hope that knowledgeable interactions at the session would guide us in facing challenges in areas of constraints in production, marketing and infrastructure development of the sugar sector. He said this will also lead us to draw up a road map covering all these issues, for the sugar industry to grow manifold in global interest of balancing sugar and energy production through sustainable technologies and effective promotion strategies.

Opening session was also addressed by Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee. He said that Government has taken a number of steps to revitalize the sugar industry so that the industry is in a position to reap the advantages of free and growing market. But some specific areas like Energy Conservation; Improvement in the recovery of sugar from sugarcane and reduction in the water intensity of crops require further attention through technological improvements, he added.

ISO’s 41st Session being held here form April 24-26, 2012 is being attended by delegates from 53 countries to discuss issues before the sugar industry across the world. Opening Session was followed by a workshop on “India-Key player in the world sugar economy”.

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