India’s sugar output in 2022-23 to dip by 1.4% as mills will divert cane to make more ethanol: ISMA

India’s sugar production in 2022-23 season is likely to fall by 1.4% from the current season despite an increase in acreage as mills are likely to divert more cane for ethanol production, industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association said in a statement.

Based on the satellite images, ISMA has estimated that the total acreage under sugarcane in the country will go up by 4% to around 5.82 million hectares in 2022-23 sugar season (October to September) as against 5.58 million hectares in 2021-22. The increase in acreage is estimated to result in the net sugar production being higher at 39.99 million tonnes, against 39.4 million tonnes estimated for 2021-22.

“However, with an increased sugar production, sugar diversion towards production of ethanol is also estimated to be higher,” ISMA said, adding that the estimated diversion of cane juice and B-molasses to ethanol will reduce sugar production by about 4.5 million tonnes in next season, as compared to about 3.4 million tonnes diverted this year.

After accounting for the reduction of 4.5 million tonnes in sugar production due to diversion of cane juice and B-molasses to ethanol, ISMA estimates sugar production at around 35.5 million tonne in the new season which starts from October 1, as compared to 36 million tonnes in the current season, while consumption would be around 27.5 million tonnes, therefore keeping a surplus of about 8 million tonnes which needs to be exported. In the current season, the total contracted quantity of ethanol till July 10 was 444.42 crore litres. Out of this, 362.16 crore litres is from sugar industry, which translates into diversion of about 3.4 million tonnes of sugar into ethanol. In order to achieve the target of 12% blending in 2022-23, a total of about 545 crore litres of ethanol would be required.

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