PUNE: As compared to last year more sugarcane was diverted for ethanol production, as per data provided by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA). In 2020-21, at least 20.07 lakh million tonnes (LMT) of sugarcane was diverted for ethanol making and in this year’s season, a total of 34.08 LMT was diverted for the same across the country.
In Maharashtra, 7.12 LMT of sugarcane was diverted for ethanol making in 2020-21 and 11.29 LMT in 2021-22 (till May 15).
India on Tuesday restricted exports of sugar, a surplus commodity, to 10 million tonnes this season amid record overseas sales to check domestic inflation and channel more sugarcane into ethanol production.
Experts say that the recent central and state government policies will help to increase ethanol production in the country. It will also help to address the fuel problem.
Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the National Co-operative Federation of Sugar Mills, said, “The government policy will help for diverting more sugarcane to ethanol making. As the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane has increased, industries are expecting that the central government would increase the ethanol prices this year.”
Shekhar Gaikwad, the Maharashtra sugar commissioner, said, “As this year Brazil faced a drought situation, India got a chance to export more sugar. But as the situation has improved in Brazil, we need to concentrate on ethanol production and need to convert more sugarcane and other production for ethanol blending. Government’s policies are also helping for the same.”
Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for transport and highways, has also supported the move to boost ethanol production. He has appealed to sugar industries to give priority to ethanol production and on the other hand, he is keeping pressure on automobile industries to bring a hybrid or hundred per cent ethanol run vehicles on road.
Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and former agriculture minister, while addressing a gathering at Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Pune recently, had said, “The factories need to erect hybrid plant and as per market demand need to covert production in sugar or ethanol. When there is a demand for sugar, they should produce sugar otherwise produce ethanol.”