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Sugar output pegged lower by 2.18% to 30.5 mn tons for 2021-22 season: ISMA

India’s sugar production is pegged lower by 2.18 percent to 30.5 million tonnes in the ongoing 2021-22 season, mainly due to diversion for ethanol production, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said on Thursday.

The country will need to continue exporting about 6 million tonnes of surplus sugar in the 2021-22 season (October-September), it added.

Sugar output was at 31.18 million tonnes in the 2020-21 season. India, the world’s second-largest sugar producer after Brazil, is diverting sugarcane for its ethanol blending program in a big way.

Releasing the first estimate, industry body ISMA said the sugarcane crushing in the ongoing 2021-22 season has already started in some areas and is expected to start soon in the other regions of the country. ”ISMA estimates sugar production in 2021-22 at around 30.5 million tonnes, lower than its preliminary estimate of 31 million tonnes released in July 2021,” it said. Sugar production is estimated to be 12.25 million tonnes in Maharashtra, 11.35 million tonnes in Uttar Pradesh, 4.95 million tonnes in Karnataka without considering any diversion of sugar for ethanol, it said.

These are the top three sugar-producing states in the country. ISMA said it expects a marginal fall in yield and sugar recovery in Uttar Pradesh due to unseasonal rains, particularly in the eastern region.

Since ratoon cane availability is higher than plant cane in Maharashtra, yield per hectare is expected to be slightly lower compared to the last season.

The remaining states are expected to collectively produce 5.31 million tonnes of sugar in the 2021-22 season.

With higher ethanol production capacity and continued surplus sugarcane, a larger quantity of cane juice /syrup and B-molasses will get diverted to ethanol in the 2021-22 season.

”It is estimated the diversion of cane juice and B-molasses for ethanol making will reduce sugar production by about 34 lakh tonne in the 2021-22 season, similar to preliminary estimates released by ISMA,” it added. However, a better picture of the diversion can be ascertained after the ethanol tenders for 2021-22 are finalized. Already, mills have submitted bids for ethanol supplies, the association said.

As of October 1, ISMA said, there is an opening balance of 8.29 million tonnes of sugar in the country, which is 2.5 million tonnes less than the year-ago period. But, it is still more than the domestic requirement for the initial months of the current season, it added. ISMA will again review the sugarcane and sugar production estimates in January 2022.

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