The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Thursday said that a record more than 5,000 Lakh Metric Tons (LMT) sugarcane was produced during the 2021-22 sugar season.
″Of the 5,000 LMT produced, 3574 LMT of sugarcane was crushed by sugar mills to produce 394 LMT of sugar (Sucrose) out of which 36 LMT sugar was diverted to ethanol production and 359 LMT sugar was produced by sugar mills,″ the ministry added.
India emerged as the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar as well as world’s 2nd largest exporter after Brazil in sugar season (Oct-Sep) 2021-22.
″With a view to prevent cash loss to sugar mills caused due to subdued sugar prices, Government of India in June, 2018 introduced the concept of Minimum Selling Price (MSP) of sugar & fixed MSP of sugar at Rs. 29/ kg which was revised to Rs. 31/ kg w.e.f 14.02.2019,″ the ministry said.
Timely intervention of the Central Government since last 5 years is crucial in building the sugar sector step-by-step from taking them out of financial distress in 2018-19 to the stage of self-sufficiency in 2021-22.
″`During the sugar season 2021-22, sugar mills procured sugarcane worth more than Rs. 1.18 lakh crore and released payment of more than Rs. 1.15 lakh crore for the season with no financial assistance (subsidy) from Government of India. Cane dues for sugar season 2021-22 are less than Rs. 2,300 crores indicating that 98% of cane dues are already been cleared,″ the ministry added.
As a long-term measure to enable sugar sector to grow as self-sufficient, the central government is encouraging sugar mills to divert sugar to ethanol and also to export surplus sugar so that sugar mills can make payment of cane dues to farmers in time and mills can have better financial conditions to continue their operations.
″With success in both the measures, sugar sector is now self-sufficient with no subsidy for the sector since SS 2021-22,″ the ministry said.
Growth of ethanol as biofuel sector in last 5 years has amply supported the sugar sector as diversion of sugar to ethanol has led to better financial positions of sugar mills due to faster payments, reduced working capital requirements and less blockage of funds due to less surplus sugar with mills.
″During 2021-22, revenue of more than Rs. 20,000 crores were made by sugar mills/distilleries from sale of ethanol which has also played its role in early clearance of cane dues of farmers,″ the ministry added.
Ethanol production capacity of molasses/sugar-based distilleries has increased to 683 crore liters per annum and the progress is still continuing to meet targets of 20% blending by 2025 under Ethanol Blending with Petrol (EBP) Programme.
Another highlight of the season is the highest exports of about 110 LMT with no financial assistance, which was being extended up to 2020-21.
″These exports earned foreign currency of about Rs. 40,000 crores for the country. In the current sugar season 2022-23, about 60 LMT export quota is allocated to all sugar mills, out of which about 30 LMT is lifted from sugar mills for export till 18.01.2023,″ the ministry said.