Countdown to 2024: Stalwarts of sugar and ethanol industries share expectations for the new year

As 2023 is coming to an end, leaders in the sugar and ethanol industries are looking ahead to 2024, anticipating positive developments in the coming year. The industry experienced a mix of successes and challenges throughout 2023. There were several demands from the industry to the government that went unmet this year, with hopes of seeing them addressed in 2024. Millers, sugar/ethanol organisations, traders, and ethanol producers have expressed their expectations for the coming year, shedding light on their thoughts about what lies ahead in 2024.

Atul Chaturvedi, Executive Chairman of Shree Renuka Sugars said, “Wishing all the ChiniMandi readers a wonderful new year! 2023 was a challenging and eventful year. Our wishlist for 2024 includes avoiding ad hocism in policy intervention whenever possible. Given the prohibition on sugar exports, there is a question as to why Molasses exports should be allowed, it needs to be curbed. Additionally, C Heavy Molasses ethanol price needs to be raised to Rs 60/ per litre to reduce the pain of low capacity utilisation of distilleries.”

Tarun Sawhney, Vice Chairman & Managing Director at Triveni Engineering and Industries Ltd. said, “The Indian Sugar Sector, impacting the livelihoods of approximately 50 million sugarcane farmers and nearly 5 lakh mill workers, reflects remarkable progress in 2023. Collaborative efforts between the industry and the Government achieved a noteworthy 12% ethanol blending rate, aiming to reach 20% by 2025-26, positioning India as the world’s third-largest ethanol producer. The Government’s supportive ethanol policy, emphasizing pricing and diverse feedstocks like rice and maize, has strengthened the supply fluctuations, and ensured price stability. As we enter 2024, the industry’s focus should be twofold: sustaining growth momentum and preparing for the future by enhancing capabilities, especially in 2G ethanol, Compressed Biogas (CBG), and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Technological investments, capacity building, and modern biomass strategies will drive this transformation. As India assumes the Chair of the International Sugar Organisation in 2024, it is poised to lead the global sugar industry towards sustainability, collaborative innovation, and responsible growth, promising significant sectoral expansion for sugar and ethanol in the year 2024. We remain committed to be a key partner in India’s journey towards self-sufficiency, lending our expertise across sectors from Sugar to Alcohol, Power Transmission, Defence, and Water businesses.”

Abinash Verma, ethanol expert, ex-bureaucrat, former DG ISMA and now Promoter of grain-based ethanol plant said, “Supply of surplus FCI rice for ethanol production be restarted, and/or the broken rice produced from the paddy given by FCI to rice millers for milling, be given to ethanol producers at fixed price of Rs.20,000 per tonne. Price fixation of ethanol from grains be more dynamic and increased as per changes in market price of rice and maize. Current grain based ethanol prices are not viable. Furthermore, payment by OMCs be made within 7 days from date of receipt of ethanol, instead of the current 21 days.”

C.K.Jain, President, Grain Ethanol Manufacturers Association said, “We wish 2024 should make the grain ethanol industry viable and sustainable by the Government’s hand holding on feedstock (DFG & Maize) availability at MSP to fulfill our supply commitments to Oil Marketing Companies and make Government of India’s E-20 Ethanol Blending Programme a grand success.”

Prakash Naiknavare, Managing Director of National Federation of Cooperative sugar Factories Limited (NFCSF) said, “We hope and pray that hicups and twist that industy experienced in 2023 doest not get repeated in 2024.”

Rahil Shaikh, the Managing Director of MEIR Commodities, shared insights on the expected production numbers and prices in new year. He stated, “We anticipate that India will produce 30 million metric tonnes (MMT) of sugar in the 2023-24 season. This projection comprises 9 MMT from Maharashtra, 4 MMT from Karnataka, 11.50 MMT from Uttar Pradesh, and the remaining states are expected to contribute 5.50 MMT of sugar. However, there could be a downward adjustment of 0.5 MMT rather than an increase. The domestic sugar market is projected to range between Rs 34,000 to Rs 38,000 per tonne, while the global market is expected to range between 18 to 23-24 cents. Ethanol blending will continue to increase subject to increase in production. India currently a better model than Brazil to switch.”

Jitu Shah, Founder and Chairman of JK group said, “Due to severe El Niño conditions, planting in Maharashtra and Karnataka is expected to remain lower by 15-20 per cent this season. In addition to this above normal temperatures due to El Niño, summer is likely to set in early and expected to keep demand robust for the coming months which is likely to support the prices for the whole year.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here