The government of Maharashtra has decided to restrict the export of molasses, as the state is anticipating a 15% decline in sugarcane production this season.

A meeting of the committee of ministers was convened on Thursday (19th October) to make decisions for the crushing season (October–September) for 2023–24. November 1, would mark the commencement of the 2023–24 crushing season.

The committee has also decided to regulate jaggery production in the state. The jaggery units having more than 100 tonnes per day capacity would now come under the Maharashtra Khandsari Act.

The state’s sugar industry had earlier asked the state government to regulate the expanding khandsari and jaggery industries, as they have been vying with sugar mills seeking a share of the scant supply of sugarcane.

Sanjay Kumar Bhosale, Director (sugar), Maharashtra informed, “The number of khandsari units has increased substantially during last few years. Some of them have also set up jaggery units in the same premises.”

Molasses is the raw material used for manufacturing potable alcohol.  Potable alcohol has been an important source of revenue for the state government, in the 2022-23 sugarcane crushing season. At a time when crude oil prices are rising, molasses, a byproduct of the sugar industry, is also used to produce ethanol, which plays an essential role in the nation’s ethanol blending program.