India’s sustainable sugarcane initiative takes centre stage at New York Conference

Food Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Shri Sanjeev Chopra said that India is moving towards sustainable sugarcane production. Speaking at the New York Sugar and Ethanol Conference organised by Citi, ISO and Datagro, he said that about 1.5 mn. hectare land which is under sugarcane cultivation is identified as a water stressed area. The focus in these areas is to develop micro-irrigation systems.

“Water Conservation farming practices are being promoted. In the next five years, these areas will have low dependence on monsoon. Presently, the Indian Government is spending almost USD 100 Million per year on improving water management in the agriculture sector. By 2030, water consumption in sugarcane in these areas would decrease by 40% and yield is expected to increase by 30%”, he said. He added that sustainability is being achieved through diversification, mainly utilising by-products vis-a-vis Ethanol which is a green fuel and potash fertiliser, Bagasse which is used to produce electricity and press mud for Compressed Bio-Gas and organic fertilisers.

He spoke about India’s initiative in promoting Bio-Energy production and consumption on a global scale, which is the need of the hour to protect the environment and inch towards Net Zero Emission goals..

“The Global Biofuel Alliance is a collaborative platform uniting stakeholders worldwide to promote the development and adoption of biofuels. The Government’s focus is on green energy involving ethanol, hydrogen, co-gen power, CBG, etc,” he said.

He emphasised the Government’s initiative to bring all the stakeholders- Farmers, State Government, Union Government and sugar mills under one unified platform, Agri Stack, the National Single Window System.

Talking about the way forward for the sugar industry, Chopra said that it is imperative that sugar mills have to adopt sustainable farming practices to improve yield, with emphasis on water-efficient techniques. “Farmers’ welfare is the foundation of sustainability of the Indian Sugar Sector. Agritech-based collaboration among farmers, sugar mills, and government will bring synergy and boost the sector”, he said.

The Secretary said that the Government is working closely with the industry and industry body- ISMA- to improve sugarcane yield and sugar recovery which will ensure good harvest in future.

In his concluding thoughts, Chopra said that sustained R&D in sugar & biofuels will be key for balancing profitability and sustainability. The country is looking forward to collaboration, shared growth, and sustainable advancements.


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