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Union Minister Pralhad Joshi Inaugurates 64th International Sugar Organization Council Meeting

New Delhi: Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and New and Renewable Energy, inaugurated the 64th Council Meeting of the International Sugar Organization (ISO) at Bharat Mandapam today. The meeting, set to conclude on 27th June 2024, has brought together experts from over 30 countries to discuss future possibilities, challenges, and strategies in the sugarcane, sugar, and allied sectors. This marks the second time India has hosted the ISO Council Meeting, the first being the 41st session in 2012.

During the inaugural address, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi highlighted the significance of the sugar industry in India, which supports nearly 5 crore farmers and provides extensive employment opportunities both directly and indirectly. He emphasized the Government of India’s commitment to the welfare of farmers and the safeguarding of consumer interests under the leadership of Prime Minister, ensuring collaborative efforts to improve agricultural practices.

Joshi expressed pride in hosting the ISO conference, underscoring India’s dedication to advancing technology and skills in the sugar and biofuel sectors. He highlighted India’s position as the world’s largest sugar consumer and a major biofuel producer, noting the country’s achievement of over 12% ethanol blending with petrol and its target to reach 20% soon. The Minister emphasized the crucial role of biofuels in combating climate change and detailed the positive impacts of India’s Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme on the sugar industry and farmers. He encouraged delegates to leverage this conference for future ventures in the sugar sector and wished for its success.

Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India, and Chairman, ISO, stressed the need for the global sugar and ethanol industry to tackle climate change through sustainable practices. He highlighted the importance of developing drought-resistant sugarcane, conserving water, and promoting biofuels. Chopra called for greater collaboration among ISO member countries to utilize modern technology for the benefit of farmers and small players. He emphasized the potential for India and Brazil, the top two sugar-producing countries, to collaborate in research and development to create better sugarcane varieties with higher yields and sucrose content. He also highlighted India’s strides in ethanol production and blending, underscoring the nation’s commitment to sustainability and encouraging international cooperation in these efforts. Chopra highlighted the success of the Global Biofuel Alliance, an initiative of the Prime Minister of India.

Jose Orive, Executive Director of ISO, congratulated India on successfully handling ISO matters as Chair and organizing the event in such a grand manner. He praised the synergy between the Government of India and the Indian sugar and biofuel industry, which has been instrumental in India’s progress in this sector.

The event also featured a workshop titled ‘Sugar & Bio-Energy – Emerging Vistas,’ providing a platform for industry leaders and government officials to exchange ideas and explore future prospects in the sugar and bio-energy sectors.

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