Export of sugar in current sugar season 2021-22 is 15 times of export as compared to export in sugar season 2017-18,” the Food Ministry said in a statement. India has exported 75 lakh tonnes of sugar till May 18 in the current marketing year ending September. The major importing countries are Indonesia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE, Malaysia and African countries. Sugar marketing year runs from October to September.
In 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 marketing years, about 6.2 lakh tonnes, 38 lakh tonnes and 59.60 lakh tonnes of sugar were exported, respectively. In 2020-21, about 70 lakh tonnes of sugar have been exported. About Rs 14,456 crore (have been) released to sugar mills in past 5 years to facilitate export of sugar and Rs 2,000 crore as carrying cost for maintaining buffer stock.
Millers have contracted for export of about 90 lakh tonnes of sugar in 2021-22. Out of which, 75 lakh tonnes have been exported till May 18. This is without announcement of any export subsidy. The ministry said it is encouraging sugar mills to divert excess sugarcane to ethanol.
To boost agricultural economy, reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel and save foreign exchange on account of crude oil import bill, the government has fixed target of 10 per cent blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 and 20 per cent blending by 2025.
Till year 2014, ethanol distillation capacity of molasses-based distilleries was only about 215 crore litres. In the past eight years, the capacity of molasses-based distilleries has been increased to 569 crore litres. The capacity of grain-based distilleries has increased to 298 crore litres from 206 crore litres in 2014. Thus, total ethanol production capacities have been increased from 421 crore litres to 867 crore litres in just eight years.
The supply of ethanol to OMCs was only 38 crore litres with blending levels of only 1.53 per cent in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14. Production of fuel grade ethanol and its supply to OMCs have increased by 8 times from 2013-14 to 2020-21. In ethanol supply year 2020-21 (December – November), about 302.30 crore litres of ethanol have been supplied to OMCs thereby, achieving 8.1 per cent blending levels.
In the current ESY 2021-22, about 186 crore litres ethanol have been blended with petrol till May 8, 2022, thereby achieving 9.90 per cent blending. “It is expected that in current ethanol supply year 2021-22, we will be achieving 10 per cent blending target,” the statement said.
The government has also allowed production of ethanol from B-heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar syrup and sugar. In sugar seasons 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, about 3.37 lakh tonnes, 9.26 lakh tonnes and 22 lakh tonnes of sugar were diverted to ethanol, respectively. In 2021-22, about 35 lakh tonnes of excess sugar would be diverted to ethanol.
“By 2025, it is targeted to divert more than 60 lakh tonnes of excess sugar to ethanol,” the statement said. This would solve the problem of high inventories of sugar and improve liquidity of mills. Since 2014, more than Rs 64,000 crore revenue has been generated by sugar mills and distilleries from sale of ethanol to OMCs which has helped in making timely payment of dues of farmers. In 2020-21, sugarcane worth Rs 93,000 crore was purchased by mills. In the 2021-22, sugarcane worth Rs 1.10 lakh crore is likely to be purchased by sugar mills.
(With input from PTI)