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Target of making petrol with 20% ethanol achievable but govt needs a proper roadmap, says sugar industry's top voice

Target of making petrol with 20% ethanol achievable but govt needs a proper roadmap, says sugar industry's top voice

Talking to BT, Aditya Jhunjhunwala, President of the industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), spoke at length about the challenges that the sugar industry is facing, despite achieving visible targets this year.

The head of ISMA, speaking about the production and consumption outlook of sugar, explained that the total production of sugar would be above 400 lakh tonnes in the country. The head of ISMA, speaking about the production and consumption outlook of sugar, explained that the total production of sugar would be above 400 lakh tonnes in the country.

India has achieved the target of supplying petrol mixed with 10 per cent ethanol, a process also called as E10 (Blending 10 per cent ethanol with 90 per cent petrol) in June, a feat which many experts say was ahead of the original schedule of November 2022. Now, the next milestone to achieve is the target of making petrol with 20 per cent ethanol, also called as E20, which has also been advanced by five years to 2025. Aditya Jhunjhunwala, President of the industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), talking exclusively to Business Today said that to achieve the target of E20 the government needs to come up with a proper roadmap.

“We need to achieve the E20 by 2025, we need to have a roadmap for achieving this, we can’t do things overnight, that is what we have requested government to have a clear thought for all the three years, then we have to produce our capacities then consumption has to come.” Jhunjhunwala said.

“There has to be discussion with all the stakeholders, I am not saying it’s not achievable but the plan has to be there,” he added further.

The head of ISMA, speaking about the production and consumption outlook of sugar, explained that the total production of sugar would be above 400 lakh tonnes in the country. However, according to him, 45 lakh tonne of sugar are expected to get diverted for ethanol in 2022-23 as against 34 lakh tonne in current marketing year.  

“The total production of sugar would be above 400 lakh tonnes, this is what we have assumed, the consumption is moving little bit but not at very high pace. The consumption would be around 275 lakh tonnes, that is what we have assumed and, as far as ethanol blending is concerned, we are looking for more diversion of sugar for ethanol,” Jhunjhunwala said.

The Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of ethanol with motor sprit, all with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry, thereby enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers.

Also highlighting some of the help that the industry is seeking from the government, he said, “As far as sugar industry is concerned, first thing that we have been asking since the last 2 months is to have export policy and the policy needs to be clarified so that people can get into contracts because the sugar season is going to start in 10 days and there is no clarity."

Talking about the thorny issue of minimum support price (MSP), Jhunjhunwala said that the industry body has been requesting the government to increase the sector's MSP. On the other hand, there is FRP, or Fair and Remunerative Price, which is the price required to be paid by sugar mills and factories to sugarcane farmers. Talking about the connection between the two, Jhunjhunwala explained the need to increase MSP in consonance with the FRP.

"There was a policy that MSP is linked to FRP, once the raw material price goes up, proportionately the MSP has to go up. But in last three years FRP has been increasing but there is no increase in the MSP. So, my cane cost has gone up, my other costs have gone up but MSP has not increased," he said.

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Published on: Sep 28, 2022, 6:57 PM IST
Posted by: Tarab Zaidi, Sep 28, 2022, 6:16 PM IST