India’s sugar output to fall as ethanol use rises: Isma

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25 July 2022, New Delhi: India’s sugar output is forecast to decline in 2022-2023 as a higher volume of sugarcane is diverted to ethanol production even as cane production rises with increased planting acreage, according to the Indian sugar mills association (Isma).

The Isma expects 4.5mn t of sugar to be diverted to ethanol through cane juice and B-molasses during the October 2022-September 2023 sugar season, to supply 5.45bn litres of ethanol needed to meet next year’s 12pc on-road blending target. This is higher than the 3.4mn t it estimates has been diverted to the biofuel during 2021-2022.

Sugarcane acreage is forecast to increase to 5.83mn hectare (ha) in 2022-2023, up by 4pc from 2021-2022, based on preliminary season estimates using satellite images procured in the second-half of June and input from industry stakeholders.

Sugar production before diversion to ethanol is therefore expected to rise to 40mn t, up from 39.4mn t in 2021-2022. But actual sugar output is forecast to drop to 35.5mn t from 36mn t this season, after an increased volume of the sweetener is funneled into biofuel production.

Increased diversion of domestically-produced sugarcane and ethanol towards on-road gasoline blending, as India pursues a 20pc average blend rate by 2025-2026, is expected to continue to support strong import demand for ethanol for industrial use.

Also Read: China: Measures counter food security risks

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