Net sugar production in 2022-23 sugar season (SS) before considering diversion towards ethanol is estimated to be higher by about five per cent at around 410 lakh tonnes, against 392 lac tons produced in 2021-22. In July this year, ISMA had released its preliminary estimates of net sugar production at 355 lakh tonnes for 2022-23 SS, based on the first survey of satellite mapping carried out in June 2022. This was estimated after considering a diversion of 45 lakh tonnes of sugar for production of ethanol using B-heavy molasses, juice, and syrup.
The second set of satellite images of sugarcane crop acreage across the country has been procured in the first week of October and based on the satellite images so procured, the total acreage under sugarcane in the country is estimated to be around 59 lakh hectares in this season, which is about six percent higher than 2021-22 sugar season’s cane area of around 56 lakh hectares.
The increase in acreage and the expected increase in sugarcane production was discussed in the meeting of ISMA, where representatives from sugar producing states from across the country were present. The images of the cane area, field reports regarding expected yield, sugar recovery, impact of previous and current year’s rainfall, water availability in reservoirs, rainfall during SW monsoon 2022 and other related aspects were discussed and accordingly first advance estimates for 2022-23 were released which indicated an increase in production by five per cent at around 410 lakh tonnes.
During the year 2022-23, since the target of 12% blending is expected to be achieved, a total of about 545 crore litres of ethanol would be required and supplied. The Indian sugar industry is committed towards nation building and striving to achieve the ethanol blending target fixed by the Government for 2022-23 season and therefore in the current year, sugar diversion towards production of ethanol is estimated to be higher by 32% at 45 lakh tonnes against 34 lakh tonnes estimated in the last season, ISMA said in a statement.
Therefore, after accounting for the reduction of 45 lac tonnes in sugar production due to diversion of cane juice, syrup, and B-molasses to ethanol, ISMA estimates sugar production in to be around 365 lakh tonnes. With an opening balance as on October 1, 2022, of around 55 lakh tonnes, estimated sugar production for the season 2022-23 of around 365 lakh tonnes and estimated domestic sales of around 275 lakh tonnes, which will leave additional sugar at around 90 lakh tonnes that can be exported to maintain the same closing stock.
Since, window of timeline for exports in the current year appears to be quite short as Brazil’s sugar production is expected to bounce back to normal level of around 36 million tonnes this year, which is due to start in April 2023, Brazilian sugar is likely to hit the global markets by May, 2023.
Further, most mills have already contracted sugar for export supplies in the current season. So, an early announcement of sugar export policy by the Government will help the producers and exporters. The sugarcane crushing for the season has started in the southern region and is expected to start soon in other regions also. Therefore, a better picture would emerge after a few months when actual trend of yields and sugar recoveries would become available.
As has been the practice, ISMA will again review the sugarcane harvest and sugar production estimates in January 2023, when the trends of the above are available.