From the Editor’s desk: Government should announce ethanol prices without delay

There is a lot of action in sugar off late. The domestic sugar sector has generated a lot of interest. The lower sugar production in the country has everybody guessing about sugar exports, whether the current restrictions will continue or the Government will allow some amount of sugar to be exported.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the sugar mills at this point as the Government is yet to announce feed-stock wise ethanol procurement price for the new Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2023-24 which began on November 1st 2023. A clear price indication is helpful for the sugar mills to plan their sugar and ethanol product strategy, especially in a year when sugar prices are well supported. The Ethanol Blending Programme is a national agenda, and as ‘Urja Data’, the sugar mills have to supply ethanol for blending purposes, which would require Government support and handholding. I feel the Government should announce ethanol prices at the earliest and without any further delay. This is the need of the hour to ensure another smooth ESY.

The Government on November 14, announced the second tranche of the November sugar sell quota for mills and also allowed the extension of the first tranche of 15 LMT till the month-end. The question remains whether the allocation of 8 LMT for the rest of November would be enough to cater to the demand, as the country continues to be in the festive mode.

As the new sugar season has started from October 1st 2023, the sugar mills in UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc. have started their cane crushing operations. In another week, the crushing will gain momentum. The new sugar produced will be added to the pipeline, which will ease the country’s overall sugar stock positions.

Even though there is sufficient sugar in the country, we have to keep in mind that it is just about enough to meet domestic demands. As per AgriMandi.Live Research, the total sugar production in the current season is estimated to be at 29.8 MMT (after factoring in sugar diversion for ethanol production of around 4.0-4.2 MMT).

The carried forward sugar stock from 2022-23 SS is 5.7 MMT. Hence the total sugar
availability is around 35.5 MMT (estimated sugar production + carried forward). If we
consider the expected sugar consumption at about 28.2 MMT. This leaves behind
net sugar availability at around 7.3 lakh tons, which will be required to be carried
forward in the next sugar season to meet the normative sugar requirement of 6 MMT.

One has to give a lot of credit to the Government for managing the sugar prices well within the comfort zone when international sugar prices are on fire. The timely release of the monthly sugar sale quota in tranches has helped in managing the festival month demand of October and November.

The International Sugar Organization (ISO) has recently released a report which should be a balm for the heated prices. The global sugar deficit is narrowed 0.33 million metric tonnes (MMT), lower than the previous estimate of 2.11 MMT. The improvement comes on the back of better cane crops in Brazil, which will offset some of the losses in India.

However, it is just the beginning of the sugar season in India. There is a lot more in store as we move ahead. Keep watching this space.

For further inquiries or to contact Uppal Shah, Editor-in-Chief, please send an email to


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