Pawar advises sugar industry to focus on ethanol

The sugar industry should diversify its production and focus on ethanol to remain economically viable, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar said on Saturday.

He was addressing a rally in Sangli, western Maharashtra, where he welcomed local leader Shivajirao Naik into the fold of the NCP after the latter left the BJP.

”We can’t just have sugar production. We should opt for the production of ethanol. It’s a good idea to set up a distillery in the sugar mills,’ said the former Union agriculture minister.

The Union government has also announced a policy to encourage ethanol production, Pawar added.

Ethanol, a by-product of sugar mills, can be blended into gasoline and has several industrial uses. If sugar mills turn to ethanol production, they can meet farmer leader Raju Shetti’s demand that factories pay a one-time payment to cane growers, he added. “In the case of sugar, it has to be stored for a year (before being sold), and in the meantime, the loan amount and the interest add to the charge. While the payment for the sale of ethanol can be recovered in two months,” Pawar said.

Referring to the farmers’ protest on Delhi’s borders which forced the Union government to scrap new farming laws, Pawar criticized those who dubbed the protesters as ‘Khalistani’. The Sikh community contributed not only to agriculture but also to the Armed Forces and made great sacrifices during the freedom struggle, he said. “If these people protest their claim and if someone questions their loyalty to the country, the farmers of this country will not forgive them,” Pawar said.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Rachel J. Bradford