From the Editor’s desk: The sugar and ethanol industry seek strategic support for economic transformation

The largest democracy in the world has just concluded the biggest celebration of the power of the common man to have a say in electing the polity. After the mammoth task of holding elections in seven phases, the 18th Lok Sabha is in the process of final institutionalisation. Tomorrow Narendra Modi will take the oath at 6 pm for the 3rd successive term to head the coalition Government.

As the country is on the brink of major economic, business, political, environmental and social transformation, the new Government assumes higher importance for steering the country towards inimitable success.

In this context, it is important to understand the aspiration of the sugar industry from the new Government. The sugar industry has changed the course of its future with a game-changing production portfolio and innovation.

It is charging the country’s stride towards emerging as an energy-efficient and self-reliant country, with the advent of the ethanol blending programme. As the industry moves forward, and toys with the idea of investments in the production of other green energy- CBG, Green Hydrogen, SAF etc, support and handholding for the Government are paramount.

What are the key demands of the sugar and ethanol industry from the Government. For any industry to sustain and thrive, ample liquidity and profit-making are key.

Likewise, for the sugar industry, it is imperative to have sufficient cash flow to make timely payments to farmers, invest in R&D and maintenance, repay loans, etc.

The principal cash flow of the sugar mill is from sugar and ethanol, besides other revenue generation sources. The prices of both sugar and ethanol have not been revised despite an uptick in the prices of various other input costs including higher cane price.

The Minimum Selling Price of Sugar (MSP) should be revised upward by minimum 15 per cent and aligned with the higher cane price, as enshrined in the doctrine of sugar MSP when it was introduced. In addition, the ethanol procurement price of feedstocks- B Heavy molasses and Sugarcane Juice which remained unchanged in the current supply year, should be increased in order to monetise ethanol production by the industry and encourage them to keep up with the further production and supply to achieve higher blend percentages.

Another important agenda that should be undertaken by the Government, sugar industry and cane farmers is to ensure the production of high-yielding, pest-resistant and all-weather cane varieties.

India, which emerged as an important sugar export market in 2021-22 and 2022-23, had to step back amid export restrictions imposed by the Government following the initial impression of crop deficit.

For the industry to grow and actively participate in nation-building, the prerequisite is steady sugar production. It is high time that sugar production is independent of weather vagaries and other local factors.

Last year, India led the formation of the Global Biofuels Alliance, a watershed moment in ensuring the reduction of carbon footprints and achieving net zero emission goals.

Recently, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that India has a huge potential in the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). However, to achieve this requires substantial investment in new infrastructure. To facilitate this, a steadfast commitment to competitive pricing and a guaranteed market for SAF from the sugar industry and other stakeholders is essential. This also hold true for other green fuel as well including Green Hydrogen, CBG etc.

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


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