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India’s sugar output seen 13 pc up at 35 mn tons, exports at 9.5 mn tons in 2021-22: Govt

The country’s sugar production is projected to rise by 13 per cent to 35 million tonne, while exports are likely to be 9.5 million tonne in the ongoing marketing year ending September 2022, according to the Food Ministry.

About 99.5 per cent of cane dues amounting to Rs 92,480 crore of the previous year have been cleared, and about 80 per cent of cane dues of the current year have also been paid to farmers, it said.

The assessment of the sugar availability and export situation was discussed in a virtual meeting chaired by Food Secretary Sudhansu Pandey with the state cane commissioners here on Tuesday, the ministry added.

As per the revised estimates, the ministry said sugar output of 35 million tonne has been estimated for the ongoing 2021-22 marketing year after discounting 3.5 million tonne of sugar for ethanol.

The production, however, is higher than the estimated domestic consumption of about 27.8 million tonne, it said in a statement. There was a carry-over stock of about 8.5 million tonne at the beginning of the 2021-22 marketing year. According to the ministry, the availability of sugar in the country is sufficient to meet domestic requirements.

”As such, there will be smooth availability of sugar and sugar prices in the domestic market are expected to remain stable at reasonable levels,” it said. In the current marketing year, sugar exports are likely to be 9.5 million tonne. After exports, there would be a closing stock of over 6 million tonne at the end of September 2022, it said. In the ongoing 2021-22 marketing year, the ministry said out of total cane dues payable of Rs 91,468 crores, about Rs 74,149 crores have been paid to farmers as of April 18 this year.

”It is expected that in the current sugar season, cane price payment of more than Rs 1,00,000 crores would be made by sugar mills to farmers. Increase in export and diversion of sugarcane to ethanol has expedited cane price payments to farmers,” it added.

Further, the ministry said the government is encouraging sugar mills to divert excess sugarcane for ethanol blending with petrol, which not only serves as a green fuel but also saves foreign exchange on account of crude oil import. There has been an increase in the diversion of sugar for ethanol making in the last three years. About 3,37,000 tonne of sugar was diverted for ethanol in 2018-19, 9,26,000 tonne in 2019-20 and 22,00,000 tonne in 2020-21.

In the current marketing year, about 35,00,000 tonne of sugar is estimated to be diverted for ethanol making, it said, adding that by 2024-25, about 60,00,000 tonne of sugar is estimated to be diverted for ethanol that would address the problem of excess sugarcane as well as delayed payment issue to farmers.

From the sale of ethanol to oil marketing companies, sugar mills have generated about Rs 53,000 crore in revenue between 2013-14 and 2020-21. In the current 2021-22 year, more than Rs 18,000 crore revenue is expected to be generated. India is the world’s second-largest sugar producer after Brazil.

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