India has emerged as the world's largest producer and consumer of sugar and its second largest exporter.
In sugar season (October-September) 2021-22, a record over 5,000 lakh metric tons (LMT) sugarcane was produced in the country, out of which about 3,574 LMT was crushed by sugar mills to produce about 394 LMT of sugar (sucrose). Out of this, 35 LMT sugar was diverted to ethanol production and 359 LMT sugar was produced by sugar mills.
As per Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the season has proven to be a watershed for the Indian sugar sector. All records of sugarcane production, sugar production, sugar exports, cane procured, cane dues paid, and ethanol production were made during the season.
Another highlight of the season is the highest exports of about 109.8 LMT that too with no financial assistance which was being extended upto 2020-21. Supportive international prices and the Indian government policy led to this feat of Indian sugar industry. These exports earned foreign currency of about Rs 40,000 crore for the country.
The success story of the sugar industry is the outcome of synchronous and collaborative efforts of Central and state governments, farmers, sugar mills, ethanol distilleries with a very supportive overall ecosystem for business in the country. Timely government interventions since the last 5 years have been crucial in building the sugar sector step by step from taking them out of financial distress in 2018-19 to the stage of self-sufficiency in 2021-22.
Officials said that during SS 2021-22, sugar mills procured sugarcane worth more than Rs 1.18 lakh crore and released payment of more than Rs 1.12 lakh crore with no financial assistance (subsidy) from the Centre. Thus, cane dues at the end of sugar season are less than Rs 6,000 crore indicating that 95 per cent of cane dues have already been cleared. It is also noteworthy that for SS 2020-21, more than 99.9 per cent cane dues are cleared.