Total area under sugarcane crop in the country during the next sugar season (October 2021-September 2022) is projected to be around 54.55 lkh hectares (lha), about 3 per cent higher than 52.88 lha during the current season, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said on Wednesday.

The sugar industry body estimated that with that much area, the sugar mills in the country would be producing 310 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar in the coming season and there would be a significant diversion of cane juice and B-heavy molasses for ethanol production.

This diversion will lead to a reduction of 24 lt of sugar in 2021-22 compared to 21 lt in the current sugar season, ISMA said.

In comparison, sugar mills produced 307 lt of sugar till date are expected to produce an additional 2 lt as some mills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will have special crushing sessions, taking the total sugar production in the country to 309 lt.

The sugarcane area estimates were arrived at a meeting convened by ISMA where representatives from sugar-producing States participated to discuss satellites images of the cane area, field reports about expected yield, sugar recovery, drawal percentage, impact of previous and current year’s rainfall, water availability in reservoirs, expected rainfall during the current monsoon season.


State-wise production

Uttar Pradesh is estimated to have sugarcane area at 23.12 lha, very similar to 23.07 lha in the current sugar year. ISMA, however, said it is expecting a marginal increase in yield as well as sugar recovery and thus the estimated sugar production, without considering diversion for production of ethanol in the coming season is projected to be around 119.27 lt.

The sugarcane area has gone up by 11 per cent in Maharashtra, on the other hand, to 12.75 lha from 11.48 lha in the current 2020-21 season. Sugar production expected from the State is around 121.28 lt, without taking into consideration the diversion for ethanol production.

Karnataka, too, reported a slight increase in sugarcane area which is slated to be 5.22 lha as compared to 5.01 lha this season. This can yield 48.74 lt of sugar, without ethanol diversion. The remaining States are expected to collectively produce about 54.60 lt of sugar in the next sugar season, ISMA said.

Ethanol diversion

Similarly, total contracted quantity of ethanol till July 5 is 333 crore litres. Ethanol manufactured from sugarcane juice and B-Heavy molasses is expected to be 230 crore litres, which translates into diversion of around 21 lt of sugar into ethanol.

During the next year 2021-22, since the target of 10 per cent blending is expected to be achieved, about 450 crore litres of ethanol would be required, which will be about 117 crore litres more than the expected supplies in 2020-21.

Assuming that most of the additional quantity of 117 crore litres will come from cane juice and B-Heavy molasses, it will translate into diversion of an additional 13 lt of sugar as compared to previous year. This would mean a total of approximately 34 lakh tonnes of sugar will be diverted into ethanol next season, ISMA said.

As compared to 107 lt opening balance at the beginning of the current sugar season, the opening balance in October this year is expected to be 87 lt.