‘This will give India an edge to bolster its ethanol production needs’.
New Delhi: India’s sugarcane production is set to increase by more than 20% in the next crop cycle which will ease its growing needs of sugar and ethanol. The growth will also smoothen the production of ethanol which was earlier produced by minimising the production of sugar when the crude oil prices would splurge high, which would create a sugar shortage and increase the prices of the commodity.
Dr Dinesh Singh, the principal scientist at the Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, said, “The agricultural commodity is such that there is no immediate change, we can’t increase the production rate or increase the raw material. With the Ukraine-Russia crisis, there will be an impact in India that will benefit Indian farmers, but it will take time until the next crop grows, and production increases. There will be three more distilleries installed in Uttar Pradesh in the coming six months, In Bihar as well, there are new distilleries coming. Recently, around a dozen co-operative sector distilleries whose conditions were bad were given budget resumption.”
In India, the major share of sugarcane is utilized by sugar mills for producing sugar. According to an estimate for the 2021-22 marketing year, the domestic consumption of sugar in the country was around 27 million tonnes. In the same year, sugar production had reached 31.9 million tones, up by 2.90% from the previous year, according to data released by trade body AISTA. The country has also exported around 7 million tonnes of sugar in the same period.
The sugarcane production in the country during 2021-2022 has been around 420 million tonnes which are projected to increase by more than 20% and cross the 500 million tonne mark in the next crop cycle that will start this October. Furthermore, the 20% increase will bring the production of sugar to more than 38 million tones, giving India an edge to bolster its ethanol production needs due to the growing crude oil prices.
At the same time, India’s ethanol production capacity is around 700 crore litres which is expected to reach 1000 crore litres by 2025 for the targeted 20% blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030. There are 120 sugar mills and 72 distilleries out of 200 in Uttar Pradesh alone, making it the largest producer of sugar and ethanol in the country.
Pushpendra Singh, a sugarcane farmer leader, said, “Now there is CO 0238 variety being used from six years and almost 90% of sugarcane is sown of this variety. A lot of sugar is getting exported; even this year, around 6 to 7 million tonnes of sugar will be exported. Farmers will be benefited. Now, after the Ukraine war, there is an impact. When there are rising crude oil prices, sugarcane gets diverted into ethanol production, slashing the production of sugar and increasing its prices in the market. The more the sugarcane gets produced, it will help smoothen the production of both ethanol as well as sugar and farmers will get payments easily which will better their income.”