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Sugar for ethanol to continue, no retail price hike despite costlier edible oil imports: Food Secretary

With India planning to achieve 20% ethanol blending in fuel, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra has told CNBC TV18 that sugarcane will continue to be diverted for ethanol. He said that closer to the 20% target, 50% of ethanol will be derived from sugarcane and another 50% will be derived from maize and damaged foodgrains.

With a 5.5% year-on-year inflation noted in sugar, he stated that there are no supply side shocks and sugarcane farmers are also getting their dues on time. He termed the diversion of eight LMT more sugarcane for ethanol as good news for the industry, up from 17 LMT earlier.
Assuring no supply-side hurdle for imported edible oil despite a rise in global prices, he described the rise as “temporary” in view of labour shortages in Malaysia and Indonesia and the Muslim holy month of Ramzan.

While he attributed the rise in freight prices of sunflower oil imported from Europe to the Red Sea conflict which prompted shipments to come across the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, Chopra said that the industry absorbed the rise in cost and no impact was seen on retail prices.

In a move which will insulate India from price shocks in these commodities, he said that the Agriculture Ministry is already working on a plan to make India self-sufficient in pulses & oilseeds in the next few years.

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