Sugar exports are expected to reach 50-60 lakh tonnes in the current marketing year

Sugar

Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Friday that an increase in the minimum selling price of sugar from the current Rs 31 per kg is unlikely as domestic prices are higher, and he expects sugar exports to reach 50-60 lakh tonnes during the current marketing year, which begins in October. Pandey, speaking at the 87th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), said blending ethanol with gasoline reached 8.1 percent in 2020-2021 , against the 8.5 percent target, and stressed the need to meet the 10 percent target this year.

He urged sugar factories to invest in ethanol storage capacity so that green fuel can be delivered regularly to MOCs.

Pandey pointed out that the government had stepped in to help the sugar industry, which struggled financially due to excess production and low prices a few years ago.

“We have noticed that direct export support to the industry has totaled over Rs 13,000 crore over the past five to six years. And it did not end there. The government has also provided support. help with buffer stocks. When prices started to fall, the concept of minimum selling price (MSP) was put in place to halt the downtrend. It was also an important source of support for the industry. at the time, “he said.

As a result, exports jumped to over 70 lakh tonnes in MY 2020-21 (October-September) from around 6.3 lakh tonnes in 2017-18, according to Pandey.

According to the secretary, around 35 lakh tonnes of sugar have already been committed for export for the current season (2021-22). Brazil’s production will be reduced.

On the sidelines of the event, he added, “We should reach between 50 and 60 tonnes lakh (exports) this year.” Pandey stressed the importance of balancing India’s sugar supply with world market demand.

About 20 lakh tonnes of sugar were diverted for ethanol production in 2020-2021, the amount to reach 35 lakh tonnes this year.

Pandey estimates that by 2025 the goal should be to redirect around 60 lakh tonnes of sugar, which is usually an excess in India. “Market prices will not increase unless we identify a significant source of income for the remaining 60 tonnes of excess sugar.”

Domestic demand for sugar, he added, remained stable at around 260 lakh tonnes.

Pandey responded to the sugar industry’s request for an increase in the MSP to Rs 36-37 per kg from the existing Rs 31 per kg: “… natural prices have increased in the market, and prices are rising. now easily fall in the region of Rs 34-35 (per kilogram). ”

“Indian sugar finds a good market price in local and foreign markets,” he noted. The secretary, speaking on the sidelines of the event, said the MSP system was put in place when prices were falling, but costs are currently rising.

When asked if the MSP system would be kept or discontinued, he said, “It depends on world market conditions, which country is producing how much and whether we have a surplus or not at all. It varies ; at the time, the MSP was not required. ”

“Why can’t nothing be based on a need? You use it when it’s needed. Don’t use it until it’s really needed,” Pandey said. Regarding ethanol, Pandey said there were supply issues towards the end of the 2020-21 season.

“We were supposed to mix at 8.5%. However, we were stuck at around 8.1% of mix. As a result, we have to make amends. This year we have to mix 10% of the time,” he said. he declared, stressing the need. to correct irregularities.

Pandey stressed the need to increase ethanol storage capacity and urged the industry to do so. “If we don’t grind and stock enough, supplies will become inaccessible at the end of the year, when we are living this time. ”

According to the secretary, around 1,500 crore liters of ethanol would be needed to meet the 20% blending target. About 760 crore liters are to come from the sugar industry, while 740 crore liters are to come from the grain industry.

He said the Food Ministry does not anticipate any difficulty in obtaining the amount of ethanol produced by the sugar industry. Pandey also mentioned the importance of transferring best practices from the sugar sector to other sugar cane producing states.

He also urged the sugarcane industry to focus on water conservation and the sustainable cultivation of sugar cane by building a good micro-irrigation system.

Sugar production is expected to remain stable at 31 million tonnes in MY 2021-22, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA). The total amount of sugar available is expected to reach 39.5 million tonnes, with an initial stock of 8.5 million tonnes of sweetness.

Domestic consumption is expected to be 26.5 million tonnes, and exports are expected to be 6 million tonnes. At the end of this campaign, the closing stock would be 7 million tonnes.

Rachel J. Bradford