Suggestion to adopt Brazil sugar mill model


Dharwad: India has surpassed Brazil in sugar production, said R K Singh, Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (Commercial Crops). He was speaking at a three-day annual meeting of Indian Institute of sugarcane Research (IISR) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here on Monday.

Addressing the meeting, he said, “Sugar cultivation in India has increased three times in the last 49 years and sugarcane production by 8 times. The use of high yield variety has helped in increasing recovery by 1.8 times.”

“We are focussing on ethanol production from sugarcane juice,” he said. India has produced 130 crore litres of ethanol with Uttar Pradesh at the top with 40 per cent production.

Millers in India are struggling because of unsold stocks. Therefore, the government is focusing on ethanol production to strengthen the financial condition of sugar mills. Recently, the government increased the price of ethanol from C heavy molasses from Rs.43.46 per litre to Rs.43.75 per litre, and the price of ethanol from B heavy molasses hiked from Rs.52.43 per litre to Rs.54.27 per litre. Price of ethanol from sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup route was fixed at 59.48 per litre.

The Central government has the vision to achieve 20 per cent ethanol blending with petrol by 2030 and is moving in the same direction.  Experts believe the production of ethanol will aid sugar mills to improve the financial condition as they are struggling with depressed sugar prices, surplus stocks, and piling cane arrears.

Singh stressed that we should follow the Brazil model where mills switch to sugar production or ethanol depending on the requirement of the market.

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