Sugar factories are ready to increase the ethanol volume, there is no need to increase the area of ​​sugarcane

India can produce up to 1,00,000,000 liters of ethanol from current sugarcane production levels against the requirement of 1,200,000,000 liters to meet the target of 20% ethanol-to-petrol blending  (EBP)  by 2025-26. However, sugar factories must increase their capacity from the current 700 million liters to at least 1,100 million liters. EBP  for the current ethanol procurement year (December-October) reached 11.76 percent as of August 31, while the full-year target is 12 percent and officials hope to achieve it.  

 Two years left 

 Speaking to the media, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) president Aditya Jhunjhunwala said that sugar millers have been contracted to supply around 450 million liters of ethanol in the current Ethanol Procurement Year (ESY), which ended on October 31. tons), there could have been 500 million liters more ethanol. But sugar mills do not have the capacity and this needs to be increased urgently as there are only two years left to achieve the target of 20 percent ethanol-to-petrol blending (EBP)”. Calling for a long-term ethanol pricing policy for the sugar industry instead of any subsidy scheme as more than ₹ 17,000 crore investment is needed to increase production capacity, Jhunjhunwala said the industry has simultaneously collaborated with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). to increase sugarcane productivity and recovery levels so that it would not be necessary to increase the seed area. 

 The government should come up with some formula to fix the price of ethanol, he said, adding that the ISMA has asked to increase the price of ethanol (made from sugarcane juice/syrup)  from the current ₹ 65.61 per liter to ₹ 69.85 per liter.  He said ISMA has collaborated with ICAR’s Sugarcane Breeding Institute for the five-year project by allocating ₹7.5 crore for research to develop high-yielding varieties. 

 Production of sugar 

  Regarding next year’s sugar production outlook, he said that ISMA still believes in the preliminary estimate of 31.7 million tonnes (mt), which does not take into account the 4.5 million tonnes destined for ethanol in the 2023-24 sugar season (October-September ). However, the industry will publish a new estimate in November after analyzing satellite images of the sugar cane region among the main producing countries, as rain was lacking in July-August and monsoon rains resumed in September. Sugar production this season is 32.8 million tons, excluding 4.2 million tons of ethanol. Jhunjhunwala demanded that the minimum selling price (MSP) of sugar be increased from the current ₹ 38/kg to ₹ 31/kg due to fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane. Admitting that the current ex-factory price is higher than the MSP, he said the benchmark should be based on the cost of production and not the market price.

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