Uttar Pradesh ramps up its ethanol producing capacity to 1.4 billion litres per annum; more in the pipeline

Uttar Pradesh sugar mills have increased their ethanol production capacity to more than 1.4 billion litres (BL) per annum. More capacities are in the pipeline, reports Business Standard.

According to the state sugar industry and sugarcane development department, at least 25 sugar mills in UP had already started ethanol production from ‘b heavy’ molasses, thus providing the much-needed liquidity to the state sugar sector during the current times of sugar glut and price crash.

The state government has estimated that by 2021-22, about 60 sugar mills in UP would be producing ethanol from ‘b heavy’ molasses, while a few cooperative mills would also start the production of ethanol directly from sugarcane juice, which fetches even better prices.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said his government had successfully integrated the sugar sector with ethanol production for the accrual of sustainable benefit to the sugarcane farmers. The sugar department said over the last three years, total sugarcane payments worth more than Rs 92,500 crore had been made to farmers since 2017. 

Besides, 53 private sugar mills in UP were provided with Rs 2,916 crore in soft loan under the state government scheme in 2018 of Rs 4,000 crore to give them the financial aid to clear their outstanding dues.

At the same time, the beleaguered sugar mills were offered additional grant worth Rs 483 crore in the form of Rs 4.50 per quintal support against cane procurement in 2017-18 sugar crushing cycle.

Meanwhile, the state government has provided 113 new licenses to the khandsari (unprocessed sugar) units to provide a ready sugarcane value chain to farmers and to partly insulate the sector from the cyclical impacts. These 113 units have total capacity of more than 30,000 tonnes crushed per day (TCD), which is equal to 5 sugar plants.

The state has planned to launch the production of sulphur free sugar in nearly 15 sugar mills by next year. The state has also asked the private sector mills to clear their cane dues, which are also rising as the crushing season 2019-20 is well past midway.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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