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India's sugar exports surged 291 per cent to $4.6 billion in the financial year 2021-2022, according to the government data released on Monday. The exports were up from $1.2 billion in FY 2013-14. As per DGCI&S data, India exported sugar to 121 countries across the globe.

Sugar export jumped 65 per cent in 2021-22 corresponding to previous year. The growth was achieved despite logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 in the form of high freight rates, container shortages, etc, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry said in a statement.

Highlighting the historic achievement in a tweet, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said that Modi government’s policies were helping farmers increase their income by tapping global markets.

According to the DGCI&S data, India had exported sugar worth of $1,965 million in 2019-20, which rose to $2790 million in 2020-21.

In 2021-22 (April-February), India has exported sugar worth of $769 million to Indonesia, followed by Bangladesh ($561 million), Sudan ($530 million) and U.A.E ($270 million). 

India also exported sugar to Somalia, Saudi Arab, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Nepal, China, etc. Indian sweetener has also been imported by USA, Singapore, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Germany, France, New Zealand, Denmark, Israel, Russia, Egypt, etc, the government statement further added.

Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka account for nearly 80 per cent of the total sugar production in the country. The other major sugarcane-producing states are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Haryana, and Punjab.

However, even after record exports, the closing stocks at the end of sugar season 2021-22 (October – September) would be at a comfortable level of 73 lakh tons. The Government will continue to take all possible steps to maintain this upward trend in sugar exports, the ministry added.

Notably, India is the world’s second-largest sugar producer after Brazil. Since 2010-11, India has consistently produced surplus sugar, comfortably exceeding the domestic requirements. 

The record exports would enable the sugar producers to reduce their stocks and would also benefit the sugarcane farmers, as the increased demand for Indian sugar is likely to improve their realizations, the ministry noted, adding, "The significant rise in agri-exports is also seen as a testimony of the government’s commitment to increase farmers’ income by boosting exports of agricultural and processed food products of the country."

Further, in order to ensure seamless quality certification of products to be exported, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has recognized 220 labs across India to provide services of testing to a wide range of products and exporters, the government added.

In 2019, APEDA led a delegation of exporters to Indonesia to organised road shows and had meetings with relevant authorities. Thereafter, export to Indonesia picked up and today they are the highest importer of sugar from India.