70 lakh MT sugar exported in sugar season 2020-21: Eco Survey

About 70 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of sugar has been exported in sugar season 2020-21 in comparison to 59.60 LMT in the 2019-20 season, the Economic Survey said.

“Further, contracts of about 30 LMT for export of sugar have already been signed in the sugar season 2021-22,” it said, adding: “The average annual production of sugarcane is around 35.5 crore tonnes, which is used to produce around three crore tonnes of sugar.”

In the past four sugar seasons ending 2020-21, revenue of about Rs 35,000 crore has been generated by sugar mills/distilleries from sale of ethanol to oil marketing companies, which has helped in clearing cane price arrears of farmers, it said.

Significance of sugarcane and sugar industry for India’s economy can be gauged from the fact that it is the country’s second largest agro-based industry, next to cotton. It impacts the livelihood of over five crore farmers and their dependents. India is the largest consumer and the second-largest producer of sugar in the world.

“The domestic consumption is estimated to be around 2.6 crore tonnes in 2020-21. Over the years, India has become a sugar surplus nation as reflected from the trend of sugar production and consumption. Since 2010-11, production has outstripped consumption except in 2016-17,” the Survey said.

The government said that this has been possible because of various measures undertaken by it, such as Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP), which has doubled in a span of ten years. “In addition, some state governments announce State Advised Price (SAP) at levels higher than FRP. Additionally, sugar mills that buy sugarcane are mandated to purchase crops from farmers within a specified radius known as the Cane Reservation Area. In this way, sugarcane farmers are insured and protected against price risk,” the Survey said.

Moreover, in order to handle the surplus production and enhance liquidity of mills, the government has taken various steps such as incentivising them to divert excess sugar cane/sugar to ethanol production, providing financial assistance for transport to sugar mills to facilitate export of sugar, etc., it said.

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