A Sugarcane Superpower: India’s Chairmanship of ISO in 2024

India’s appointment as the chair of the International Sugar Organization (ISO) for 2024 is a significant milestone for the country, highlighting its growing influence in the global sugar industry. Here’s a detailed analysis of this news:

Background and Significance

  • ISO’s Announcement: During its 63rd Council meeting, ISO announced India’s chairmanship for 2024. This decision was made at the ISO’s London headquarters, reflecting India’s increasing stature in the global sugar sector​​.
  • India’s Role and Goals: As the chair, India aims to work collaboratively with all member states. The country’s priorities include promoting sustainable practices in sugarcane cultivation, sugar and ethanol production, and effective utilization of by-products​​.
  • Rationale for India’s Leadership: India’s selection is based on its status as the world’s largest consumer and second-largest producer of sugar, holding about 15% of global sugar consumption and 20% of sugar production. This substantial contribution to the global market positions India as an apt leader for the ISO​​​​.

International Sugar Organization (ISO)

  • Establishment and Role: ISO, formed in 1968 under the International Sugar Agreement, is headquartered in London. It is an intergovernmental body overseeing global aspects of sugar production and distribution, with about 90 member countries​​.

India’s Contributions and Achievements

  • Ethanol Production: India is the third-largest ethanol producer globally, trailing only the US and Brazil. The country has significantly increased its ethanol blending from 5% in 2019-20 to 12% in 2022-23, boosting its green energy commitments and addressing surplus sugar challenges domestically​​​​.
  • Sugar Industry’s Growth: The Indian sugar industry, the second largest agro-based industry in India after cotton, has seen extensive modernization and expansion. It operates in major sugar-producing areas like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. The industry has also diversified to exploit by-products for additional revenue, enhancing sustainability and profitability​​​​.
  • Cane Price and Industry Health: India is notable for paying the highest cane price to farmers while maintaining industry profitability without government financial aid. The country has effectively managed cane dues, ensuring timely payments and maintaining low pendency​​.
  • Price Stability: Despite global price hikes, India has successfully kept domestic sugar prices stable, with only a 5% increase compared to the global rise of around 40%​​.
  • Technical Collaboration: The National Sugar Institute in Kanpur collaborates internationally, sharing the latest technologies and best practices in the sugar sector with countries like Indonesia, Nigeria, and Egypt​​.


India’s chairmanship of ISO in 2024 is a testament to its pivotal role in the global sugar market and its commitment to sustainable practices in the industry. With its significant contributions to sugar production and consumption, India is poised to lead the international community towards more sustainable and efficient sugar sector practices. This leadership role not only acknowledges India’s influence but also provides a platform for it to drive global change in the sugar industry.



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