The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said Thursday that the country’s sugar production is tied for 305,000 tons in the ongoing 2021-22 season, mainly due to a shift in ethanol production. Sugar production amounted to 311.8 thousand tons in the 2020-21 season.
After Brazil, India started converting sugarcane for ethanol blending program in a big way. As ethanol production capacity increases and sugarcane surplus continues, more cane juice/syrup and B molasses will be converted to ethanol in the 2021-22 season according to ISMA.
It added, “It is estimated that the conversion of sugarcane juice and molasses B for the ethanol industry will reduce sugar production by about 34,000 tons in the 2021-22 season, similar to preliminary estimates from ISMA.” However, a better conversion picture can be confirmed after the completion of the ethanol tenders for 2021-22. The association said mills had already submitted bids for ethanol supplies.
The industry authority, when issuing the first estimate, said that sugarcane crushing in the ongoing 2021-22 season has already started in some areas and is expected to start soon in other areas of the country. “Sugar production in 2021-22 is estimated at 305 thousand tons, lower than its initial estimate of 310 thousand tons issued in July 2021,” the association said.
Sugar production is estimated at 122.5 thousand tons in Maharashtra, 113,500 tons in Uttar Pradesh and 49.5 thousand tons in Karnataka without considering any conversion of sugar to ethanol. These are the three largest sugar-producing states in the country. ISMA said it expects a slight decrease in yields and a sugar recovery in Uttar Pradesh due to the non-monsoon rains, particularly in the eastern region. Since the availability of raton cane is higher than plant cane in Maharashtra, the yield per hectare is expected to be slightly lower compared to last season. The remaining states are expected to collectively produce 53.1 thousand tons of sugar in the 2021-22 season.
She added that the country will need to continue exporting about 60,000 tons of surplus sugar in the 2021-22 season (October-September). The association said that as of October 1, there is an opening balance of 82.9 thousand tons of sugar in the country, which is 25 thousand tons less than the same period last year. But she added that it is still more than domestic requirements for the first months of the current season. ISMA will again review estimates for sugarcane and sugar production in January 2022.