Sugar exports from India stood at record 7.1 million tonnes in 2020-21: ISMA

India’s sugar export rose by 20 per cent to an all-time high of 7.1 million tonnes in the 2020-21 marketing year ended last month on the back of better demand and financial assistance from the government, industry body ISMA said. Sugar exports stood at 5.9 million tonnes in the 2019-20 marketing year (October-September).

Addressing a sugar conference, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) Director General Abinash Verma said sugar production is estimated to remain flat at 31 million tonnes in the 2021-22 marketing year. The total availability of sugar is estimated to touch 39.5 million tonnes, including an opening stock of 8.5 million tonnes of sweetener, he said.

The domestic consumption is estimated at 26.5 million tonnes while exports are estimated at 6 million tonnes, Verma said, adding that the closing stock would be 7 million tonnes at the end of this marketing year.

The ISMA DG pointed out that India witnessed cyclical sugar production till 2009-10 but “India has now become structural surplus sugar producer in the last 10 years”.

Talking about ethanol, Verma said annual production capacity is expected to reach 14 billion litres by 2025 from 3.5 billion litres of annual capacity in 2018. He said the target is to divert 6 million tonnes of surplus sugar to ethanol by 2025.

On ethanol blending with petrol, Verma said the blending level will reach 8.5 per cent in 2020-21 ethanol marketing year  ending November with supply of 3.25 billion litres to oil marketing companies (OMCs)

In the next 2021-22 ethanol marketing year, the blending level is estimated to reach 10 per cent with supply of 4.25 billion litres to OMCs. To overcome the challenge of high costs of cane and sugar, Verma stressed on rationalising the sugarcane pricing policy in India. The government should not fix cane prices and instead link cane price to revenue realised from sugar and by-products, he added.

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