Ban On Using Sugarcane Juice And Sugar Syrup For Ethanol Production:
The government has temporarily banned the use of sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for ethanol production due to uncertainties in cane output for the current season as per the Sugar (Control) Order 1966.
- The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) forecasts a 9% reduction in gross sugar production for the 2023-24 marketing year, further complicating the situation.
- India has emerged as the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar as well as the world’s 2nd largest exporter of sugar after Brazil, in Sugar Season (Oct-Sep) 2021-22.
- Government intends to maintain adequate domestic sugar availability and price stability, due to an estimated fall in sugar production in the current season. Sugar mills find it more profitable to sell sugarcane and syrup to Oil marketing companies for ethanol blending. However, this may create a shortage of sugar in the Indian market.
- The government ban would not impact India’s goal of achieving its 20% ethanol blending target by 2025-26.
- The government plans to promote ethanol production using alternative feedstocks such as B and C-heavy molasses, damaged rice, and maize.
- The government is also exploring the use of maize as a feedstock for ethanol production, with plans to procure maize directly from farmers at a minimum support price.