According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), as on 15th December, 2021, 479 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane for the year 2021-22 SS and they have produced 77.91 lakh tonnes of sugar, i.e. 4.57 lakh tonnes higher than the sugar production on the corresponding date of previous sugar season, of 73.34 lakh tonnes of sugar, when 460 mills were operating. The current year production is slightly higher due to earlier start of sugarcane crushing in Western region of the country.
In Uttar Pradesh, 117 mills are in operation and have produced 19.83 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th December, 2021, 2.77 lakh tonnes lower than last year, when 118 sugar mills had together produced 22.60 lakh tonnes on the corresponding period.
In Maharashtra, 186 sugar mills are in operation and they have produced 31.92 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th December, 2021. In 2020-21 SS, 173 sugar mills were in operation as on 15th December, 2020 and they had produced 26.96 lakh tonnes. Current year production is about 4.96 lakh tonnes higher than the last year figure on the corresponding date. The higher production is because of earlier start of crushing operations in Maharashtra and higher availability of sugarcane in the current season.
In the third largest producer of sugar viz. Karnataka, 69 sugar mills are in operation who have produced 18.41 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th December, 2021. This is about 1.76 lakh tonnes higher than the last year sugar production of 16.65 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 SS as on 15th December, 2020.
In Gujarat, 15 sugar mills are in operation and they have produced 2.30 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th December, 2021. In 2020-21 SS, as on 15th December, 2020 similar number of sugar mills were in operation and had produced 2.40 lakh tonnes of sugar till that date.
There are 11 sugar mills in operation in Tamil Nadu and sugar production till 15th December, 2021 was about 0.60 lakh tonnes, as compared to 0.37 lakh tonnes produced by 10 sugar mills which were in operation as on 15th December, 2020.
Crushing operations in all the other States have also begun and the pace of crushing has picked up. About 81 sugar mills are operating in other States who have collectively produced 4.85 lakh tonnes of sugar in this season upto 15th December, 2021, which in the previous season was 4.36 lakh tonnes, when 80 mills were operating as on 15th December, 2020.
As per market reports and information collected from large trading houses, over 6.5 lakh tonnes of sugar are reported to have been physically exported out of the country by the end of November, 2021 in the current season, as compared to about 3 lakh tonnes exported during the corresponding period last year.
It is also reported that total contracts for sugar exports for about 37 lakh tonnes has already been contracted for exports in the current sugar season 2021-22. However, most of these contracts were signed when the global sugar prices were in the range of 20-21 cents per pound of raw sugar. Signing of further export contracts have slowed down a bit during the last fortnight or so due to a fall in global prices of raw sugar to around 19 cents/pound. Though, currently the global prices have recovered to some extent and are hovering around 19.5 cents per pound, but exports are still not viable for Indian sugar.
There is a general opinion that since more than 9 months are still left in the current season, there is enough time for the sugar mills to wait for an opportune moment when they would like to enter into export contracts. The international trade houses are also of the opinion that the world prices will need to move up from the current levels if the world wants Indian sugar mills to export another couple of million tons of sugar in the next 7-8 months or so.
On the ethanol front, in the 2020-21 ESY which ended on 30th November 2021, 302.30 crore litres have been supplied by distilleries across the country thereby achieving an all-India average blending of 8.1%. This is a record in itself, considerably over the 5% ethanol blending level achieved in 2019-20 ESY.
Going forward into 2021-22, the Government has set a target to achieve 10% blending across the country in the current year. Against a total requirement of 459 Crore ltrs of ethanol for 10% blending, OMCs have so far allocated a total of 366 Crore ltrs after first two cycles of EOI, i.e. 317 Crore ltr against offer of 414 Crore ltr in 1st cycle of EOI and 49 Crore ltrs against an offer of 82 Crore ltrs in 2nd cycle of EOI.
We hope and expect to achieve 10% blending in the current year as the remaining requirement is expected to be allocated in subsequent EOIs.