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IANS

Sugar production in the current sugar season 2021-22 is expected to be 13 per cent higher than the previous sugar season, the government said on Tuesday.

"As per the revised estimates, production of sugar in the current sugar season 2021-22 is estimated to be about 350 Lakh Metric Tonne (LMT) (after discounting diversion of 35 LMT of sugar to ethanol) against estimated domestic consumption of about 278 LMT. There was carry over stock of about 85 LMT at the beginning of the sugar season 2021-22," officials from the Ministry of Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution said.

Even after likely export of about 95 LMT, the closing stock for the current sugar season at the end of September 2022 is likely to be more than 60 LMT.

"The availability of sugar in the country is sufficient to meet the domestic requirement. As such, there will be smooth availability of sugar and the sugar prices in the domestic market are expected to remain stable at reasonable levels," the officials said.

Earlier in the day, a virtual meeting in this regard, was held under the chairmanship of Secretary (F&PD) with the Principal Secretaries (Sugar) and Cane Commissioners/Directors (Sugar) of vatious state governments to assess area under cane cultivation, sugarcane and sugar production for Sugar Season 2021-22 (October-September) as well as export of sugar & diversion of sugar for production of ethanol here.

The government is also encouraging sugar mills to divert excess sugarcane to ethanol, which is blended with petrol, which not only serves as a green fuel but also saves foreign exchange on account of crude oil import.

"In last three sugar seasons 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 about 3.37 LMT, 9.26 LMT and 22 LMT of sugar was diverted to ethanol. In the current sugar season 2021-22, about 35 LMT of sugar is estimated to be diverted & by 2024-25 about 60 LMT of sugar is targeted to be diverted to ethanol, which would address the problem of excess sugarcane as well as delayed payment issue as farmers would get timely payment," the Ministry claimed.

From Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14 (Dec-Nov) to ESY 2020-21, about Rs 53,000 crore revenue has been generated by sugar mills/distilleries from sale of ethanol to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).

In the current ESY 2021-22, more than Rs 18,000 crore revenue is expected to be generated by sugar mills from sale of ethanol to OMCs.

In the previous sugar season 2020-21, out of cane dues payable of Rs 92,938 crore, about Rs 92,480 crore cane dues were paid to farmers, as on April 18, thus, 99.5 per cent cane dues of previous sugar season are cleared.

In current sugar season 2021-22, out of total cane dues payable of Rs 91,468 crore, about Rs 74,149 crore have been paid to farmers as on Monday, which is more than 80 per cent, officials said, adding: "It is expected that in the current sugar season, cane price payment of more than Rs 1,00,000 crore would be made by sugar mills to farmers. Increase in export & diversion of sugarcane to ethanol has expedited cane price payments to farmers."

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