Home / News / India /  India pips Brazil to become largest producer of sugar

New Delhi: With a bumper sugar production of 35.9 million ton during the October-September season, India has left behind Brazil to become the top producer of the sweetener.

Brazil produced about 32 million ton of sugar in 2021-22.

India also produced a record 5,000 lakh metric ton (LMT) of sugarcane during the October-September season, emerging as the world’s largest producer of the sweetener, said Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Wednesday.

Sugar exports also rose to 109.8 LMT. In sugar seasons 2017-18, 2018-19 & 2019-20, only about 6.2 LMT, 38 LMT & 59.60 LMT of sugar was exported. “Supportive international prices and Indian government policies led to this feat. These exports earned foreign currency of about Rs. 40,000 crores," the statement added.

The Union government earlier this year capped sugar exports at 100 LMT from 1 June, anticipating a surge in demand during the festive season that could have driven prices higher.

Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey had said that India was seeing record sugar production and that the restriction was precautionary.

During the sugar season 2021-22, mills procured sugarcane worth more than 1.18 lakh crore and released payment of more than 1.12 lakh crore with no financial assistance (subsidy) from the government.

“This sugar season was a watershed season for the Indian Sugar Sector. Records of sugarcane production, sugar production, sugar exports, cane procured, cane dues paid and ethanol production were made during the season," the ministry said in a statement.

The government has been encouraging sugar mills to divert sugar to ethanol and export surplus sugar.

The growth of ethanol as biofuel sector in the last five years has supported the sector. During 2021-22, sugar mills/distilleries made Rs. 18,000 crores from the sale of ethanol. The ethanol production capacity of molasses/sugar-based distilleries has increased to 605 crore liters per annum. The progress aims to meet the target of 20% blending by 2025 under Ethanol Blending with Petrol (EBP) Programme.

“The diversion of sugar to ethanol is expected to increase from 35 LMT to 50 LMT which will generate Rs. 25,000 crores for the sugar mills," the ministry said.


Swati Luthra

Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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