Vice-President Perceives

The sugar industry has contributed to the development of rural economy in the country using sugarcane as a resource. The industry has been able to fulfill the sugar demand and contributed significantly to ever increasing energy demand. The Government of India constituted a committee under Dr.C.Rangrajan, Chairman Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, to comprehensively look in to all issues related to regulation of sugar sector and suggest ways and means to bring about changes in regulations for promotion of efficiency and investment to achieve a growth trajectory.

The Government of India accepted two recommendations viz. removal of levy sugar obligation and deregulation of release mechanism on sugar sale. This is a landmark development in Indian sugar industry.

With the removal of obligation of levy sugar, the mills will fetch better prices for sugar and will be able to pay more to the growers. The removal of restrictions on release of sugar will improve the financial health of mills leading to timely payment to the growers and reduction in cane arrears. The removal of regulated release mechanism for non-levy sugar will get freedom to sugar mills for taking decision on how much sugar they could sell in market as per their cash flow needs and prevailing market prices of sugar. This will also help in establishing transparency in market pricing. The development of sugar marketing strategy by studying and understanding the pattern of production, consumption, stock, demand and supply of sugar is one of major challenges for sugar mills.

However, the remaining recommendations are also vital for the stability of the industry. Of these, rationalization of sugar pricing and abolition of cane area reservation system are very important. The decisions on the remaining recommendations will ultimately decide the future prospect of the sugar sector. Therefore, early decisions on these matters are essential.

On VSI front, a harvester suitable for Indian conditions has been successfully completed and commercialized. The Institute has also been successful in developing a cane sampler unit suitable for Indian conditions. It is envisaged that this sampler will help to determine the cane price based on the sucrose content. With the inception of sugar sampling, not only the growers will get payment based on the quality of cane but also they will be inclined to produce quality cane by adopting sugarcane varieties having higher sucrose content.

I am confident that under the visionary leadership of our President, the Institute is moving ahead from strength to strength and is significantly contributing to the overall development of sugar sector.

Dilip Walse Patil