Domestic sugar exports stood at the highest 109.8 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) for the financial year 2021-22, thus making India the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar and the second largest exporter of sugar, the government announced on Wednesday. The country earned foreign currency worth ₹40,000 crore through the sugar exports. With this, India surpassed Brazil to be the second largest sugar exporter, after Thailand. 

In the sugar season 2021-22, a record of more than 5000 LMT sugarcane was produced out of which about 3,574 LMT of sugarcane was crushed by sugar mills to produce about 394 LMT of sugar. Out of this, 35 LMT sugar was diverted to ethanol production and 359 LMT sugar was produced by sugar mills. 

The government said in a statement, “The season has proven to be a watershed season for the Indian Sugar Sector. All records of sugarcane production, sugar production, sugar exports, cane procured, cane dues paid and ethanol production were made during the season.”

In the sugar season 2021-22, over 1.18 lakh crore sugar cane was procured by the sugar mills at a payment of more than 1.12 lakh crore without government’s assistance. “The cane dues at the end of sugar season are less than ₹6,000 crore indicating that 95% of cane dues have already been cleared. It is also noteworthy that for sugar season 2020-21, more than 99.9% cane dues are cleared,” the government said. 

Meanwhile, during 2021-22, sugar mills/distilleries made revenue of about ₹18,000 crore from sale of ethanol. The ethanol production capacity of molasses/sugar-based distilleries has increased to 605 crore litres per annum. Under the flagship Ethanol Blending with Petrol (EBP) Programme, the government is aiming to achieve 20% of ethanol blending targets by 2025.

“In new season, the diversion of sugar to ethanol is expected to increase from 35 LMT to 50 LMT which would generate revenue for sugar mills amounting to about ₹ 25,000 crores,” the government said. 

The development comes as India’s exports slumped by 3.52% to $32.62 billion in September 2022, compared to $33.81 billion in the same month the previous year. Meanwhile, the imports in September 5.44% to $59.35 billion this year.

Beginning June 1 this year, the government curbed all sugar exports, excluding the fixed quantity of sugar being exported under the CXL quota and tariff-rate quota to the EU and the US, in order to meet domestic demand. 

“With effect from 1st June 2022 up to 31st October 2022 or until further orders, whichever is earlier, export of sugar is allowed only with specific permission from Directorate of Sugar, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution,” the government notification had said. 

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