Maharashtra millers look at ethanol to reduce sugar production

By: |
October 3, 2020 5:00 AM

At a meeting at the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Pune on Friday, millers examined ways to divert at least 10 lakh tonne towards the production of ethanol.

Producing ethanol will not only help stabilise price due to diversion of sugar, but also ease fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments to farmers, he said.Producing ethanol will not only help stabilise price due to diversion of sugar, but also ease fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments to farmers, he said.

Maharashtra sugar millers are facing a problem of plenty. With carryover stock of around 60 lakh tonne of sugar from the 2019-20 season and another 100 lakh tonne expected to be produced in 2020-21, millers are now turning towards ethanol to divert excess production.

At a meeting at the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Pune on Friday, millers examined ways to divert at least 10 lakh tonne towards the production of ethanol. They decided to focus on converting B Heavy molasses into ethanol, said Sanjay Khatal, MD, Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Production. The federation has held webinars in all sugar cane producing regions to create awareness among millers on the need to produce ethanol, he said.

Producing ethanol will not only help stabilise price due to diversion of sugar, but also ease fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments to farmers, he said. The millers discussed clearances that will be required for ethanol production and the planning to meet ethanol production targets.

BB Thombare, president, Western India Sugar Mills Association, who also attended the meeting presided by VSI chairman Sharad Pawar, said the diversion to ethanol will be done in three phases: 10 lakh tonne of sugar in the 2020-21 season, 15 lakh tonne in the next, and 20 lakh tonne in the third season.

In a recent webinar held by the Indian Sugar Mills Association, millers from Maharashtra assured Joint Secretary of Sugar Subodh Kumar that they would meet the ethanol supply target of 108.45 crore litres set for 2020-21 by the Union government for Maharashtra. This is 23.5 crore litres higher than the 2018-19 target. In 2019-20, Maharashtra managed to supply barely 58 crore litres of ethanol due to drought in parts of the state and floods in sugar cane growing regions. Maharashtra has 108 distilleries with a capacity of 75 lakh litres.

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