[DUBAI, March 15 (Reuters) – Indian sugar exports are seen climbing to 7.5 million tonnes in the 2021/22 season, up from the prior season’s 7.1 million, Abinash Verma, Director General of the Indian Sugar Mills Association said on Tuesday.
“We believe that we have signed contracts for 6.3 million tonnes in the current season already and contracts are getting signed pretty fast in India every week,” Verma told a sugar conference in Dubai.
Verma said Indian sugar production was expected to climb to 33.3 million tonnes in the 2021/22 season, up from the prior season’s 31.2 million.
He said it was still very early to talk about the outlook for 2022/23, with the monsoon between June and September having the potential to make a difference of a few million tonnes depending on the level of rainfall.
Verma said the capacity to produce ethanol in India was increasingly quickly and a 10% ethanol-blending target with gasoline for this year should be achieved.
He noted that in the first three months of this year an average blending of 9.34% had been achieved and in some places blending had touched 11%.
India is the world’s third biggest oil importer, relying on foreign suppliers to meet more than 80% of its demand. Late last year, New Delhi approved a proposal to achieve 20% ethanol-blending with gasoline by 2025.
This year’s target equates to around 4.4 billion litres of ethanol while the 2025 goal would mean a rise to 10.2 billion, Verma added.
He said for the 20% target to be achieved auto makers would need to respond with vehicles that could use E20 fuel from April 2023 along with flex fuel and hybrid vehicles.
Ethanol would also need to be moved around the country with production based in three sugar growing states, which will not be easy by road so there was a need to develop movement by railways and pipelines.