Convert sugar factories into bio-energy hubs, says Food Secretary

It is in the larger interest of the nation being clean and green fuel for attaining energy security and conserving foreign exchange required for import of crude oil, he added.
Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Monday stressed on the need to convert sugar factories into a hub of bio-energy and other value-added products to become self-reliant.

He also said there is a greater need for developing flexi sugar factories producing sugar and ethanol as per relative economics and market demand.

The secretary was speaking after inaugurating a five-day online executive development programme organised by Kanpur-based National Sugar Institute. Around 100 senior executives from India and overseas sugar industries participated.

"He stressed upon converting sugar factories into a hub of bio-energy and other value-added products, including speciality sugars for being 'Aatmanirbhar'," an official statement quoted the secretary as saying at the event.

While complimenting the institute, he emphasised on conducting more such online programmes for enriching the knowledge of working personnel so as to ensure an economically and environmentally sustainable sugar industry.

Speaking on the occasion, Joint Secretary in the Union Food Ministry Subodh Kumar Singh called upon the sugar factories to take up ethanol production by utilising sugarcane juice, syrup and B heavy molasses to boost ethanol availability for Ethanol Blending Programme and balance sugar production-demand scenario.


"Against the ethanol blending target of 10 per cent, we are still into 5 per cent blending only and as the ethanol market is assured, its production can help sugar factories in improving their financial conditions," he said.

It is in the larger interest of the nation being clean and green fuel for attaining energy security and conserving foreign exchange required for import of crude oil, he added.

National Sugar Institute Director Narendra Mohan suggested that looking at the sugar surplus and impact of Covid-19, the executives are required to follow the mantra of "Revisit, Reorient and Recreate" so as to work out best business models in the present scenario.

"Safe food from 'Farm to Fork' and production of 'N-O-N' i.e. Natural, Organic and Nutritive sweeteners should be high on agenda for the sugar industry," he said.

While giving an overview of the technological scenario in various sugar-producing countries, Prof Ross Broadfoot from Australia-based Queensland University of Technology emphasised on adopting various technological advancements for ever-changing business requirements.

While diversifications are crucial to reduce dependency on income from sugar, it is important to benchmark the efficiency parameters and draw SOPs so as to reduce the cost of production, he added.

IIT-Roorkee Professor Vinay Sharma said that for higher productivity and conducive business environment, it is important for every worker to take up ownership for the job he is assigned with.


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