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'Sugarcane Production Likely to Drop By 10% to 330.5 Lakh Tonnes in the Current Marketing Season,' Says ISMA

The production of sugarcane is likely to fall due to erratic rainfall. In its second advance estimate, ISMA has pegged the sugarcane production at 330.5 lakh tonnes, which is 10% lower than the previous marketing year.

KJ Staff
Representational image (Photo Courtesy: Canva)
Representational image (Photo Courtesy: Canva)

The production of sugarcane is likely to fall by 10% to 330.5 lakh tonnes in the 2023-24 marketing year (October-September) from 366.2 lakh tonnes in 2022-23, according to the second advance estimates released by the Indian Sugar & Bio-energy Manufacturers Association (ISMA) on Wednesday.

The association estimated a decline in most of the large sugarcane-producing states of the country such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat. However, the estimates for Uttar Pradesh, the largest sugarcane production increased by a lakh tonne.

In Maharastra, sugarcane production is likely to fall by 18.6 lakh tonnes to 99.9 lakh tonnes in the 2023-24 sugar season, and in Karnataka by 16 lakh tonnes to 49.7 lakh tonnes. Similarly, the production of the sweet crop may fall by a lakh tonne to 13.8 lakh tonnes, in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat by 10,000 tonnes to 9.9 lakh tonnes.

The fall is anticipated due to a drop in the sowing area of the sugarcane in the key producing states. In 2023-24, the acreage of sugarcane reduced to 57 lakh hectares from 59 lakh hectares in 2022-23. Farmers allocating more part of the sowing area to maize than sugarcane as the government has shifted its focus to ethanol blending from maize. Moreover, experts are saying the fall in production is likely due to erratic rainfall.

In a statement, ISMA said, "The government has so far allowed sugar diversion of only 17 lakh tonnes for production of ethanol via sugarcane juice/B-heavy molasses for 2023-24. This would mean net sugar production could be around 313.5 lakh tonnes”. Earlier, the Centre had banned the export of sugarcane to meet the domestic demand, but the sugar association is expecting 18 lakh tonnes of sugar diversion for the production of ethanol in the current ethanol supply year (ESY).

The sugar association further said, “We believe that the government may now easily allow around 18 lakh tonnes of additional sugar diversion for production of ethanol in the current ESY. Even then, closing stock will be sufficient enough to cater around three months into the next season”.

India has have achieved the ethanol blending target of 12% ethanol with petrol in the ESY 2023 (December 2022–October 2023). For ESY 2023–24 (November 2023–October 2024), the target is set at 15%, and for 2025, the target is to achieve 20% ethanol blending. The alternatives to sugarcane juice and its by-products such as B-heavy and C-molasses are food grains such as maize, rice, and millet.

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