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Why Indian mills want people to eat more sugar despite being world’s largest consumers

Indian sugar mills are eyeing increased consumption to cut chronic oversupply, which stems partly from favourable incentives provided to growers.

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In a world where sugar has attracted increasing scrutiny for its impact on health and obesity, there are moves afoot in the biggest consuming country to persuade people to eat more of the sweetener.

Mills in India are eyeing increased consumption as a way to cut the nation’s chronic oversupply, which stems partly from the favorable incentives provided to growers in politically powerful rural areas. High production costs mean the country finds it hard to sell sugar on the global market without subsidies.

To push forward their initiative, the mills have begun an online campaign to boost domestic demand, involving workshops and webinars, where everyone from nutritionists and endocrinologists, to public health experts and medical practitioners will share their expertise and knowledge.

“Sugar is the most preferred source of the body’s fuel for brain power, muscle energy and every natural process that goes into proper functioning of our body cells,” the Indian Sugar Mills Association said, adding that the calories in sugar are the same as calories from any other food, and it’s only when calories are not burnt adequately or too many are consumed, that body weight increases.

Social media

Consumption in India has stagnated at 19 kilograms per capita per year compared with a global average of 23 kilograms as social media campaigns saying the cane-based sweetener is unhealthy discourage people from eating it, according to the association. Per capita consumption growth between 2000 and 2016 was among the lowest in the world, it said.

If per capita consumption rises to the global average, domestic demand will climb by 5.2 million tons a year, according to Sudhanshu Pandey, the top bureaucrat at the food ministry. That would slash the surplus, cut overseas sales and save the government money by reducing export subsidies.

India, also the world’s second-biggest producer, exported a record 5.65 million tons in 2019-20, with the help of these subsidies, which are opposed by Australia, Brazil and Guatemala. Mills are aiming to ship 6 million tons in 2020-21 with production expected to rise 13% after good rains boosted planting.-Bloomberg

Also read: India’s economy to bounce back & emerge stronger from Covid crisis, says FICCI President


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  1. This is idiotic. Their diabetes costs will far exceed any savings in subsidized sugar. There people are corrupt or stupid or both.

  2. The refined sugar is equal to poison and it is one of the cause for cancer. Cancer according to research mulyiplird very fast in sugar. The bye product of sugar industry molasses is used in alcohol industry. Out and out it is bad for health due to the chemicals added. The jaggery is not that bad if they do not add chemicals. Only for money we favour the refined sugar. Once upon the government told our native oils like coconut, till etc are bad for health and advised us to go for refined oil. Now in US a d other foreign countries it said the coconut oil is good for health. Once our previous governments advised for using fertilisers. Now in foreign they advise organic farming and it is said if use fertilisers the lands looses it’s fertility. We are not truthful and for money we will even eat anything. Now we put a big advertisement ” organic products” . Even our print media also cheats us. The companies get big actors to advertise bad products . We are basically dishonest when money comes

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