In a webinar conducted by National Sugar Institute, Kanpur on “The Sugar Market & Consumption Under Covid-19”, Mr. Peter De Klerk – Senior Economist- International Sugar Organization, London, delivered the keynote address. Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Klerk gave expected global sugar demand-supply scenario indicating a sugar deficit of 6.9 million tonnes globally, although India again being surplus. Due to Covid-19, the prices of sugar have gone down in the global markets and during the sugar year 2019-20 (October 2019-September 2020), more than 2.3 million tonnes of sugar consumption has been lost till now and the future is uncertain, he further added. Due to the fall in crude oil prices, Brazil may prefer for production of sugar from sugarcane rather than ethanol, he opined. The main buyers of sugar shall be Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia and looking to the fact Thailand, the main exporting country from Asia, expected to be down by 40% in sugar production.
India may take advantage of the same by exporting sugar to these countries. Klerk also presented details of a survey conducted by the International Sugar Organization in more than 100 countries relating to myth and realities associated with sugar consumption. He said, “Sugar is not the only culprit for the diabetes, dental caries, obesity and one is required to look into the own lifestyle, also to work out calorie consumed and calories spent. While diabetes is more genetic in nature, dental caries and obesity are attributed to oral hygiene and lack of physical activity respectively.”
The webinar was attended by more than 200 delegates from India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, England, Italy, Singapore, Brazil and Indonesia. In his inaugural address, Prof. Narendra Mohan, Director, National Sugar Institute, Kanpur expressed his concerns on the economic sustainability of the Indian sugar industry, in particular, keeping in view the expected higher sugar production during next season 2020-21 and reduction in sugar consumption due to lockdown, closure or restricted working of restaurants, restriction on social gatherings and a significant decrease in consumption of sweets, beverages and desserts.
In his concluding remarks, Dr R B Khandgave, Director, S Nijlingappa Sugar Institute, Belagavi, Karnataka expressed uncertainty over the sugar consumption patterns amidst pandemic and opined that it may reduce by 5-10% depending upon the situation. There is greater need for hygienic processing and safe packaging of sugar in consumer pack, he further added.
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