Not only has the Indian sugar industry helped the country save Rs41,000 crore worth of foreign exchange through ethanol production, Maharashtra’s share in it is 30% according to the state sugar commissionerate which released the annual data in Pune on Wednesday, June 15, the same day that the state’s sugarcane crushing season for 2021-22 drew to a close.
Maharashtra sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said that this year (2021-22), sugarcane farmers and the industry have broken many records since the formation of the sugar industry in the state. “In the year 2021-22, the total ethanol production in Maharashtra stood at 134 crore litre and we expect to get Rs7,816.90 crore by selling the ethanol to oil companies,” Gaikwad said.
During 2020-21, the demand for ethanol in Maharashtra was around 100 crore litre, which was less than 30% of the countrywide demand for ethanol (367.30 crore litre). According to Gaikwad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during a national conference last week that farmers have helped India save Rs41,000 crore worth of foreign exchange by producing ethanol and blending it with oil.
“Maharashtra has played an important role in the export of sugar, and Maharashtra’s share in the export of sugar is more than 60%,” Gaikwad said. According to the Maharashtra sugar commissionerate, the state has so far produced 146 lakh million tonne (LMT) of sugar, which is not only an all-time high but also 25% higher than the previous year. This has made Maharashtra the largest producer of sugar, ahead of even Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Maharashtra has a total of 200 sugar factories which participated in the crushing season. Of the 200, 101 are cooperative sugar factories while 99 are private factories. “This sugar season broke various records and Maharashtra played an important role in it. This year, we produced the highest amount of sugar ever since the sugar industry was formed, while sugar export from India crossed previous records. At the same time, the area under sugarcane cultivation too increased at record levels,” Gaikwad said.
In May this year, the centre put a cap on the export of sugar. According to officials from the union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, the centre’s decision would ensure that the closing stock of sugar at the end of the sugar season (September 30, 2022) remained 60 to 65 LMT, which is two to three months’ stock, the monthly domestic requirement of sugar being around 24 LMT. “Crushing in the new season starts in the last week of October in Karnataka; between the last week of October and November in Maharashtra; and in November in Uttar Pradesh. So generally up to November, the supply of sugar is carried out from the previous year’s stock,” stated the release issued by the ministry. The decision is unlikely to impact sugar mills as well as farmers. “The important thing this year is that farmers have received 95% FRP (fair and remunerative price) amount till date,” Gaikwad said.